A Look Inside One Very Comfortable Bloomfield Hills Kitchen

This Oakland County kitchen was redesigned for comfort and cuisine.
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Photograph by Joe Tiano

Like many young families living in older houses, Ryan and Chelsea Pasquali of Bloomfield Hills wanted to change their 1974 ranch-style home’s layout and design to accommodate a more modern lifestyle.

They wanted a flowing floor plan and the ability to entertain family and friends comfortably. For the kitchen, must-haves were lots of dining space, a massive cooking and food-prep area, and an open design so they could see their children (Marco, 4, and Mariella, 6) playing in the adjacent family area.

“We asked ourselves, How can we create something where people will want to be here? How [can we] make it comfortable?” recalls Chelsea, who is an intellectual property attorney for the law firm Brooks Kushman.

Last year, the couple called on interior designer Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger of Bloomfield Hills-based Iron Key Designs. Shellenbarger likes to consider a typical day in the life for her clients.

“The kitchen has to work for everyone,” Shellenbarger says. “I consider who cooks — do family members cook together? Sometimes they need a dual-height island.”

Besides the kitchen, Shellenbarger also worked on the family’s mudroom, master bathroom, office, and family room. Ryan owns Impero Home Renovations and played a huge role in renovating the home, which is now has a craftsman-style design.

The following elements transformed the Pasqualis’ kitchen into the heart of the home.

Photograph by Joe Tiano

Filled up

Ryan loves the pot filler, especially on sauce and pasta days. He also appreciates the island’s utility sink.

“They’re both so useful,” he says.

Bay watch

Chelsea adores the sink by the front window. Shellenbarger created a design that extended the countertop depth behind the main sink for a bay window-style space that Chelsea uses for growing flowers and herbs.

“It’s the original bay window, but we shortened it and ordered new windows that meet the countertop,” Shellenbarger explains.

Counter cache

The countertops, from Cambria, are made of quartz.

“The Pasqualis wanted clean and simple, so we went with white,” Shellenbarger says. “Quartz won’t scratch or stain.”

Island time

The full-slab island can accommodate six chairs and is just shy of 120 inches long, while the width is 60 inches. It also has a pop-up outlet and utility sink.

Fine finish

The Shaker-style cabinetry, part of a Medallion line from Midwest Cabinet & Counter Inc. in Madison Heights, features two finishes. The perimeter cabinetry is white paint (Medallion’s Sea Salt) on maple, while the island cabinets are stained in a shade called Biscotti.

“The perimeter cabinets have a double-stacked crown and extend to the ceiling to create a feeling of more height,” Shellenbarger says.

Mix it up

The island hardware is black, while the perimeter cabinetry features gold hardware. A Champagne gold finish for the faucet adds a nice gleam to the space. All faucets and hardware are from Build with Ferguson.

Light the way

The dark floors were replaced with light flooring. “We love it,” Chelsea says, “especially because we have two dogs and a cat — we’ll always be a house with animals — and the dark floors showed everything.” Shellenbarger selected a prefinished, all-wood style by Duchateau. “It’s a European-style white oak and is on the first and second floors,” she says.

Making dough

The whole family enjoys “pasta days,” when they make it from scratch with an “old-school pasta-maker from Ryan’s dad,” Chelsea says. They typically make one of their favorite traditional family recipes, cappelletti, which is a ring-shaped pasta that resembles a hat (cappello is the Italian word for “hat”). Cooked in a broth, the pasta is filled with meat. Meanwhile, the kids love to play with the pasta dough.

“Mariella will use little cookie cutters and make things like stars,” Chelsea says.

Italian cooking

Ryan takes pride in making a special pasta sauce for friends and family. His secret is to braise short ribs and cook them in the sauce. The couple often refer to a special cookbook, La Cucina di San Marino, from The San Marino Club in Troy.

Ryan’s family on his father’s side is originally from San Marino on the Italian Peninsula, and the club holds a special place in the couple’s heart. In fact, the two were married there. The cookbook was created by the club’s women’s auxiliary group and was a gift to the couple from Chelsea’s mother.


This story is from the August 2023 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition. And click here to see more metro Detroit interiors.