A Clean Slate

After a burst pipe wreaks havoc in the kitchen, designer Emily Castle brings life back to the space.

Architect: Schaub + Srote Architects Contractor: Greg Terbrock Design + Build Interior Designer: Castle Design

By Miun Gleeson

Photography by Alise O’Brien


When a burst pipe unleashed about 200,000 gallons of water damage to this house in Lake St. Louis, not one room escaped unscathed. A massive remodeling effort included the kitchen, presenting a design opportunity that doesn’t come around every day.  “It’s not too often you take something down completely to studs and get a clean slate,” says designer Emily Castle.

The previous kitchen enjoyed a rustic aesthetic with heavy timber touches throughout. While the darker look complemented the light and airy views from the lake, the remodel was an opportunity to reimagine how light flowed in the space. The new color scheme of cool grays and whites augments the light outside, integrating the natural lake setting in a different way.

The original footprint of the kitchen was expanded to include the bar height countertop and a built-in banquette. The seating options and high-end appliances conveniently accommodate two things this gourmet kitchen has in abundance and that typically go hand in hand: lots of family members and entertaining them.

From a lighting standpoint, one of the biggest design challenges to contend with was the low, 8-foot ceiling. Castle knew she wouldn’t be able to add pendants or any light fixtures hanging from such a low ceiling. In order to give lighting interest in another way, she installed recessed lighting to softly and unobtrusively illuminate the space while ensuring the space wouldn’t feel small.

Two oversized sconces from Visual Comfort are standout features in the kitchen. Flanking the kitchen hood, the sconces are made from mercury glass and aged black iron. Castle created continuity by repeating the black iron on the cabinetry hardware.

The discerning materials in the remodel help to create textual interest and sophistication. Such touches include two-toned cabinet drawers that are white with a deeper gray inset. A backsplash made with Polarstone Calacatta Vagli quartz blends seamlessly with the classic subway tile on either side.

The end result shows how a blank slate can yield an inspired space full of modern elegance and functionality.



Contractor: Greg Terbrock Design + Build

Architect: Schaub + Srote Architects

Interior Design: Castle Design 

Tile Supplier/Installer: Virginia Tile, Stone Fabricators

Plumbing fixtures: The Kohler Store 

Decorative fixtures: Locks and Pulls Design Elements

Appliances: AUTCOhome

Lighting: Castle Design 

Painter: Greg Terbrock Design + Build 

Shutters/Blinds: Hilson

Window Treatment: Sew Soft Drapes 

Glass/Mirror: Superior Home Products 

Woodworking/Cabinetry: Greg Terbrock Design + Build 

Accessories: Castle Design