February 10, 2017

Great Lakes By Design - Featured Article

Talented Composers


By Rachel Weick & 

SVK Multimedia & Publishing


Lead Designer Angela Goodall of Kitchen Choreography Interior Design and Remodel, a Traverse City-based firm, appreciates the technical side of design. 

“As a designer, I will often tell my clients we really need to focus in on the functionality of the space to start,” said Goodall. “It really needs to flow well and function well for them: that is what they will notice at the end of the day. Functionality and the way it performs for their lifestyle is equally as important as to how it makes them feel.” 

Kitchen Choreography has been providing design and renovation services to clients in northern Michigan for nearly 14 years and is led by the husband-and-wife team of Mike and Angela Goodall. Since opening its doors in 2003, the firm has expanded from operating as an interior design firm receiving direct referrals from builders and architects, to launching a second division offering comprehensive interior remodel services for small projects. 

“We promote ourselves as an interior design firm focusing on kitchen and bath, but we are also a contracting firm that does small interior remodels,” said Goodall. “We essentially have two different divisions of our company.” 

Although the firm still maintains a fair amount of referral business to this day, Goodall said the business has about a 50-50 split when it comes to working on new construction projects through other builders and architects, and contracting comprehensive remodeling projects. Some of the firm’s services offered from the planning stage to completion comprise: design concepts and floor plans with CAD software, interior planning and selections, project management, installation, cabinetry design and custom work through their local Symphony woodshop. 

Throughout the company’s tenure, the team has completed more than 700 different projects and was recognized by The History Center Awards Committee of Traverse City in 2013 for their work in restoring and preserving the former Steward’s Residence at 420 South Division Street. The nearly 3,500-square-foot remodeled building now houses Kitchen Choreography’s new design studio. 

Kitchen Choreography strives to preserve the architectural integrity of existing homes during renovation and has completed a number of remodel projects throughout the years, such as transforming a brick, Colonial-style home into a more modern summer cottage in downtown Frankfort. 

“It was a really fun project to work on,” said Goodall. “We were trying to take something that was very traditional and turn it into a little more updated, modern cottage for the family.” 

Some of the renovation work on the Frankfort-based home comprised: adding a small mud room, applying additional plaster to smooth out the more traditional shell design in the dining room, adding glass and illumination to the curio cabinet displays, including a bathroom in an upstairs guest bedroom, installing new showers and tilework, altering the entrance of another bathroom to create a master bedroom suite, and opening up the kitchen and dining room spaces with a large archway. 


As a designer,

I will often tell my clients we really need to focus in on the functionality of the space to start. It really needs to flow well and function well for them: that is what they will notice at the end of the day. 

— Angela Goodall 


Although a remodel project can raise its own set of challenges, Goodall said the main floor wasn’t too difficult to renovate simply from the standpoint the clients were very open to extensive work on removing existing walls. 

After opening up the kitchen and dining room, the resulting space became nearly three times its previous size and meant incorporating all of the details the homeowners were requesting was easier, according to Goodall. The most challenging aspect of the kitchen was renovating window space that needed to remain due to the brick structure of the home. 

“There are window seats in the kitchen, which isn’t that typical of an application, but it was our way of utilizing that space and having some storage as well as inviting people to hang out in the kitchen,” said Goodall. 

Color also had a role in modernizing the older home through the use of whites and grays, such as: dark gray on the existing fireplace; shades of white for countertops, backsplash, and the trim; and the deep tone on the back of the curio displays in the dining room. 

With every project, the design team at Kitchen Choreography works with clients to identify aesthetic taste and style, collect materials, and set up their studio showroom to present different project options. The team also works to understand certain lifestyle choices and expectations for the performance or use of a space in each project, whether it is a kitchen, bath, or full remodel. 

In terms of the kitchen, determining how many people and how it will be used, accessibility, and storage are all technical aspects of design that culminate in the overall visual design of the space. 

“There are a lot of interview questions I go over with my clients to get started to have a better understanding of how their day-to-day life performs, but also on the weekends when they have friends or family over and what that looks like and how it functions for them,” said Goodall. 

The kitchen, as a concept, has undergone a tremendous transformation in the last several decades by broadening both its functionality and aesthetic appeal. Not only has the kitchen adapted to a more centralized focal point in the home physically, but also socially as an entertainment and gathering space. 

“I think the way we use a kitchen has changed quite a bit,” said Goodall. “One of the trends becoming more and more popular, at least in our area, is entertaining in the home versus going out to dinner.” 

This trend has led to important functional design questions such as: how do people like to serve their guests, is the setting preference causal or formal, who performs which part of the work in the kitchen, how are specialty pots and pans displayed or stored, and how accessible are the kitchen tools and appliances? 

“Seeing the completed projects is probably the most rewarding for me, but actually doing the design from a technical aspect—figuring out functionality of a space, the flow of the room, and how things are going to work—is probably what I enjoy more versus the actual material selection part,” said Goodall. 

Kitchen Choreography now employs a staff of about 12 in-house professionals, project managers, and interior designers, and manages a subcontractor crew of approximately 25 individuals. Mike Goodall, co-owner, serves as both General Manager and Lead Project Manager for the firm. 

“We dedicate all of our time to make a client feel really good about the direction they are taking with their project,” said Angela Goodall. “[We] produce a lot of drawings and details for them to feel as comfortable as they possibly can before anything is ordered or installed.” 

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