Contemporary Charming Kitchen Design in Chevy Chase, Maryland
This kitchen is in a beautiful house which has delightful interior design in room after room, that is, until you walked into the 1990’s kitchen. The white dated laminate cabinets and the design in general were a let down as soon as a person walked into the kitchen. The clients enlisted the help of an interior designer and an architect that we work with on a regular basis. We got to work right away, using the rest of the house as our guide as to what finishes would be most complimentary. The layout was a good one for the client so there was no need to go to a great extent to change any of the mechanicals. A better design was really a matter of better balance, proportion and composition in this space. Years prior to us getting involved, the clients had bumped out the kitchen toward their back yard. It was necessary to have a support beam, which is quite large and seemed to cut the kitchen in half. The end result was a disjointed, L shaped space. The breakfast table was behind the peninsula and felt cramped, so the first thing that we did was design a banquette which was an incredible space saver which accommodated more people than before. Adding the TV and cabinets above on the side wall of the banquette helped to center the table on the window and gave the clients a nice large space for the TV as well as additional storage. The space opposite the banquette is where the client likes to set up a buffet which has proven to work well in the past, however, the counter was short because it was flanked with tall cabinets on either side. There is a den behind this wall with another large TV, but, back in the 90’s, TV’s required much more room than the thinner TV’s of today. This allowed us to modify the cabinets in the den so that we could create a longer buffet countertop. This helped to open up the space not only for the buffet, but, it also helped to make the area feel less cramped and much more open. Now to the working part of the kitchen. First of all, we decided to replace the tile floor with a wood floor that blended with the rest of the house. Simply doing this makes any space feel more open through creating continuity. The existing hood was a micro/hood and was totally inappropriate for a high end kitchen. It was also placed next to the beam with an awkward narrow wall cabinet between it and the beam. By moving the cooktop over slightly, we were able to place the new hood directly against the beam. The cabinet finishes that we decided to use were a combination of a lightly stained soft light brown quartered ash and an off white painted finish. When I got the idea to clad the beam in the ash finish, this helped the rest of the design just fall into place. With the new horizontal cabinets with servo drive and tilt up doors, we were able to continue this soft brown on the beam all the way around the top of the kitchen by using this same finish on the top wall cabinet doors. Now, the beam felt like a design feature rather than an eye sore. The refrigerator and the tall pantry cabinets are also in the ash finish, which in the long run is more practical, but, also because the wood finish blended very well with the rest of the rooms in the house. They felt less like cabinets and more like furniture. So designing the base cabinets to be in the same soft brown finish made sense since they aligned with the refrigerator. The remainder of the cabinets are off white, which helps the room feel lighter and “happier”. We didn’t want a hood out of a different finish to detract from the beam detail, so, we put the hood in a wall cabinet which has a tilt out door when the hood is in use. This really cleaned up this elevation and helped to counteract the disjointed feeling that once existed. And finally, the buffet area is in all off white in order to brighten up this back area, an area which once felt cramped is now a pleasing and cozy hang out for the family.
Photography by Bob Narod