dream kitchen
Lisa and Matt Whelan are the owners of M.J. Whelan Building and Genuine Kitchen & Design and style.

It took only two months in 2020 for Matt and Lisa Whelan of Highland to update the kitchen area in the household they have now lived in for 33 several years. The velocity of the project is no shock: The couple owns Milford’s 30-yr-old M.J. Whelan Construction and its new-ish sister organization, Reliable Kitchen & Design and style (a kitchen style studio and cupboard showroom).

“We developed a 1,100-square-foot residence on a lake [Charlick Lake],” Lisa suggests. “We experienced a minimal residence on a small lake, with a significant yard, and we liked it.” The residence grew as the family grew: A few toddlers, and then 4 grandkids, intended lots of renovations, but until 2020, the kitchen area hadn’t observed an update in some 25 yrs. 

“We experienced a new kitchen on the again burner for a although, with style strategies in intellect,” Matt claims. Lisa’s suggestion-off that it was going to the entrance burner was the Xmas gift she obtained from Matt in 2019: a framed rendering of the new kitchen area.

The target was to readdress their life-style. The couple wished to just take advantage of their vacant-nest position, but also inject the most recent of things into the room. For illustration, tailor made cupboard panels (created by Wood-Manner) combine with their Thermador appliances to disguise the appliances and build a cohesive seem. They also desired a major-notch espresso and beverage centre.

“We appear to have the home where every person gathers, so to have the skill to entertain and have persons in the coronary heart of the property even though you’re cooking, and to serve them and sit and converse with them, it is just wonderful,” Matt claims. “Plus, you can work in in this article collectively and not truly feel like you are on prime of every other.”

Currently being in the style and construct business enterprise, performing jointly working day-in and day-out, and renovating your kitchen facet-by-aspect could be a challenge, but it wasn’t for this appropriate pair who are likely to enhance every other. Matt’s a builder, and with 35 staff members, Lisa, who has a track record in structure, retains the ship on course. She does the accounting, helps with design, and manages the choosing, amongst other capabilities. “She’s pretty very good at dealing with people,” Matt claims.

The Whelans worked with Sarah Rosecrans and David Nickerson of Genuine Kitchen & Style, alongside with other individuals. They carry on to be passionate about their construct-and-layout organization but are now also downright passionate about their have kitchen area. 

 “We have been on the exact webpage, as considerably as what we appreciated for the kitchen,” Lisa points out. “Matt is wonderful with layouts, so I enable him do his thing with dimensions of island, scale, et cetera. I’m very good with alternatives and of course would get his enter.” Adds Matt, laughing: “Well, fact be advised, at to start with I did not like the countertop and backsplash [quartz] alternatives, but I love them now. She is familiar with how to decide on well, and I adore how it appears to be like, even when we’re not making use of it.” 

Right here, they share insider recommendations on creating a kitchen that fits just two, on a day-to-working day foundation — or a gathering of loved ones and good friends, arrive get together time. 

Breaking Down the Facts of This Aspiration Kitchen area:

dream kitchen 2
The Whelans labored with Genuine Kitchen area & Style and other community specialists on their dream kitchen. 
Desk-place rebirth

A nonfunctioning desk area that “we under no circumstances utilised,” Matt suggests, was turned into a coffee bar and beverage space for parties, entire with a fashionable hammered-copper sink. “We made certain it was geared up with every thing you want, so you do not have to operate all in excess of the kitchen to make coffee.” Adds Lisa: “I use it every one morning.” 

Organized residing

With useful capabilities, like in-cupboard pegs for Tupperware storage, Lisa claims, “It’s quick to be arranged. Every thing has its spot.”

In the details

The space characteristics white perimeter cabinets blended with a dark walnut vent hood, open shelving, and an oversized island that measures about 7.5 by 5 feet, with a 6-centimeter-thick countertop. Far more distinctive touches incorporate X-formed mullions on glass cabinets with pure walnut interiors, LED cabinet lighting (inside of and beneath), wine-glass racks inside of the cabinetry, drawers inside super-deep drawers, and a lot more.

A few who cooks jointly

“Lisa is fantastic with every single sauce in the planet,” Matt claims. “She would make a great hen dish with balsamic and olive oil. We’re constantly thinking, ‘Why do we need to go out?’ And I was a prep prepare dinner when I was youthful, so I like to chop and do prep operate.” Provides Lisa: “Matt makes a killer chili, and he never ever would make it just the identical twice, but it is always fantastic … greater than mine!”

Cooking with simplicity

“Our induction cooktop heats points up so immediately, and when it is just us and the servings are little, it’s the finest,” Matt states. “It’s cleanse, rapid, and simple.” He’s also a big enthusiast of the Bosch Home microwave and convection oven that’s found beneath the countertop.


The kitchen flooring was tile and transitioned into Brazilian cherry in the dining room. “We required it to be all the same and couldn’t justify tearing out the old wooden, even nevertheless we have been so weary of the cherry,” Lisa says. “So, we took out the tile and place in extra cherry wood but did a white and then a light grey stain on it. It appears to be like great, flows nicely, and is substantially a lot more cohesive.”


“I adore the integrated custom made appliance panels,” Lisa says. “You really do not see the refrigerator, freezer, or dishwasher, which gives it a homey sense.”

This tale is highlighted in the February 2022 challenge of Hour Detroit journal. Study additional tales in our digital version. And click here to see far more metro Detroit interiors. 

By Ellie