July 18, 2014 at 1:00 am

Smart Solutions

Designer turns her talents to own kitchen

Local designer MaryBeth Wilson tackles her own kitchen renovation project after helping others for years. (MaryBeth Wilson)

It’s a big commitment to take on a kitchen renovation, and once you get started, there’s no turning back. Just ask MaryBeth Wilson, owner of MB Wilson Interior Design in Plymouth, who has done lots of remodels; until recently, all but her own.

After living in her home for nine years, Wilson finally decided to take the plunge herself. In the past, she says people were concerned with resale value. “No one even asks that anymore,” she says. “You do it as an investment and for yourself.”

Her newly refurbished kitchen acts as a design lab for clients. Special features include a corner wall cabinet with a piano hinge door. “You can see everything,” Wilson says.

For those contemplating a kitchen remodel, she has some advice. “A lot of people want to gut the kitchen right away, but they should live in it for a little while to see how it functions,” says Wilson.

“You might realize that you don’t really want the breakfast center near where you come in from the garage because of the natural flow of traffic. You can also determine where the best light is and the most pleasant place to be.”

For her, the aesthetics came naturally. “I always knew it would be a white kitchen. A lot of people just know the kitchen that’s in their heart,” she says. “I grew up with a white kitchen, so it was pretty easy for me. I wanted something timeless, not trendy.”

Still, she didn’t want a cookie-cutter look, so distinctive details were added like baseboard cutouts that resemble furniture.

Wilson isn’t afraid to admit she made two mistakes along the way. The first was the zinc counter on the island, which was later replaced with soapstone. The wear and tear of the zinc didn’t suit her usage.

Her second regret was buying after-market drawer organizers. So, she had her go-to cabinet company, Indiana-based Cabinets by Graber, return to install permanent dividers.

A gas cooktop replaced the electric stove, and more counter space was added for frequent entertaining. The main counters are Super White Quartzite and the backsplash is Carrara marble. A touch faucet adds convenience.

The new island, which is larger than the original, includes hidden outlets behind drawer fronts. Pendants that hang above were combined with recessed lighting and LED tape lights below the cabinets.

Existing wood floors were refinished for a fresh look.

Wilson chose not to include a built-in microwave because they don’t last as long as other appliances. Instead, she bought a standalone style to place inside a cabinet.

The designer says she was only good for one remodel because she knows how invasive the process can be.

In the end, it was all worthwhile. “Even though I’m a designer and I do it all the time, I was delighted and in awe of my new kitchen,” she says. “When it went up, I walked around with a big smile on my face for months.”

For information, contact MaryBeth Wilson at (734) 459-8025 or go to mbwilsoninteriordesign.com.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.