Kitchen Makeover

1850s farmhouse kitchen returns to glory with modern design

An 1850s farmhouse in rural Germantown, Wisconsin, is returning to its original splendor with some modern finishes thanks to homeowner and craftsman Ari Smejkal, founder of Hammer Design Group and a member of Alison Victoria’s team on HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab.”

Ari, his wife, Lara, and their six children reside in the 1850s farmhouse. They love its historic charm, and they dream of a home that would celebrate its history while embracing modern elements. They decided to start with the dark, outdated kitchen.

More than a trend, a lifestyle

Mood board image of different surfaces.Mood board image of different surfaces.
Mood board image of different surfaces.Mood board image of different surfaces.
Mood board image of different surfaces.Mood board image of different surfaces.
Mood board image of different surfaces.Mood board image of different surfaces.

Farmhouse-style kitchens have proven to be more than just a trend. Their staying power is due, in part, to a homeowner’s desire for a space where they can cook, entertain, and share moments with family and friends. Hallmarks of the farmhouse kitchen design are marble countertops, apron sinks, open shelving, light, bright cabinets, wood surfaces, and eclectic accents such as metal elements, pops of color, and patterned tiles.

As Ari set out to transform the kitchen, he focused on addressing its drab colors, worn-out countertops, antiquated appliances, and dull subway tile. He transformed the original wooden cabinets in a bright white finish that complemented the new Carrara Emporio island and countertops from the Wilsonart® Solid Surface Crafted Collection, which gave the kitchen a fresh look and feel with ample storage, prep, and cooking space.

Continuing the modern redesign, Ari incorporated a Solid Surface farmhouse sink accented by a monochromatic tile backsplash that added texture without distracting from the clean palette. Rough-hewn elements are signature to farmhouse design, such as beams and wide plank floors. These natural elements are juxtaposed with refined and traditional features such as a range with a statement hood and solid surface kitchen countertops that have the look of marble but the durability to last for decades to come. The mix of elements creates an elegant, approachable space that is warm and inviting for a family of eight.

For Ari’s design, pops of color and metallic, like emerald painted cabinetry on the island, as well as metal grill inserts, shine as jewels in the space. The details, like the marble tile behind the stove, a walnut live edge table in the breakfast nook, and new lighting, adorn the space with the right amount of earthy tones and modern brightness.


Wilsonart® Solid Surface brings new life
to old spaces

The large-scale movement of Carrara Emporio from The Crafted Collection takes inspiration from on-trend marbles but with a durability that is unmatched. This marble look extends the farmhouse aesthetic across the cabinetry and range, with a refinement that balances the rustic beams on the ceiling to create a sense of harmony in the space.

Quintessential to any farmhouse kitchen is the Wilsonart® Solid Surface farm sink in Designer White, which makes the space the hub of the home where family and friends gather for weeknight meals, casual conversations, Sunday suppers, holidays, and all of life’s casual moments in between.

Get the look



Carrara Emporio.



farmhouse sinkfarmhouse sink


Farmhouse Sink.




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