Dual Islands Add Function to Oversized Kitchen

LA PLATA, MD — An oversized kitchen with an open floor plan can often pose as many challenges as too little space to a kitchen designer assigned with the task of a remodel. Meeting the demands for form and function, and tying those elements into the decorative elements of adjoining rooms can indeed be daunting.

Barbara K. Wade, kitchen designer for Custom Kitchens by Design, based here, needed to do all of this, plus incorporate lots of work space in the cooking area and provide a separate cleaning station.

Wade complied with the homeowner’s requests, using the kitchen’s 20’x18’ size to incorporate two separately functioning islands. The overall design of the space also took into account the design of the adjacent great room and breakfast nook.

Mantel of the House

According to Wade, the design theme for the kitchen is Modern Craftsman, “which is characterized by the rustic textures of the distressed cabinetry and the natural earth tones incorporated throughout the space.”

The focal point of the kitchen is a mantel-style hood in cherry with a distressed finish that was designed and custom-made specifically for the client. The crown molding that finishes the hood was carried throughout the space.

“We custom created the molding so that it had the same profile as the hood,” observes Wade. “We also kept a simple piece that came down the sides and sat on the countertop. We didn’t make it a great depth because the client wanted to maintain her countertop space to the left and right of the cooktop.”

Wade also chose not to get too ornate with the panels that run across the top of the mantel, in keeping with the Craftsman design. The panels feature a recessed style with a simple bead.

Corbels from Enkeboll Designs were added to the mantel later in the design process because the client wanted something “so the mantel hood wouldn’t look too heavy,” Wade explains.

The base cabinets below the mantel and along the perimeter of the kitchen are Wood-Mode Custom Cabinetry’s

Brookhaven line, and feature the Springfield raised-panel door style in maple with an antique white finish with Espresso glaze.

The cabinets provide a creamy complement to the rich cherry tone of the hood.

“We selected a simple door style, because the homeowner didn’t want something overly Craftsman there,” Wade comments.

“She wanted to add something a little ornate.”

Imperial Verniz granite, which sports earthy tones, tops the antique white perimeter cabinets. “The choice of the homeowner, this granite countertop has a lot going on as far as movement,” reports Wade.

“Even though the overall look and design are important, the function of the kitchen should always play an important role,” the designer stresses. “Therefore, every available space was used for storage,” a key element for the home-owner, who is an active cook.

Wade created a cooking station that featured multiple storage aids, such as pull-out spice units for easy access and a custom base cabinet for storing and providing easy access to the mixer. Drawer partitions, hideaway storage and roll-out trays and drawers are among the many storage amenities found throughout the cabinets in the room.

Dual Islands

The center of the oversized kitchen housed not one, but two, large islands, each with its own distinct purpose. Storage, meal preparation and seating were all key considerations for the dual pieces.

To accent the Modern Craftsman design theme of the kitchen, the center island cabinets feature the Kensington raised door style from Wood-Mode Custom Cabinetry. The cherry cabinets feature a Tuscan Sun Matte distressed finish that accents the custom created mantel hood that is located on the opposite wall.

“When we did the island, we included a different door style with a simple raised panel – nothing protruding out from the door as an accent piece,” notes Wade.

The Andes Black granite countertop features a simple edge, “nothing too ornate,” according to Wade. “It was meant to keep within the Craftsman style.” The simple black tone was chosen to accent another furniture piece, she adds.

A slight radius overhang on both ends of the countertop allow for guests to pull up a stool and sit down with the homeowner for an impromptu visit.

The countertop on this center island is one level, which allows for ease of meal preparation. A prep sink situated in the island is in ideal proximity to the main cooking area.

The outer island houses the main sink, as well as two separate Bosch stainless steel dishwashers for easy clean up.

“The kitchen is visible from other rooms [due to the open floor plan of the space], which meant placement of the Bosch dishwashers needed to be hidden,” Wade explains. This island provided that opportunity.

“The dishwashers both feature a stainless steel interior with tall tubs for maximum interior space,” Wade reports.

She stresses their quiet operation as key to the function of the room. “After all, when you have a kitchen open to other rooms and you are entertaining, you want it quiet,” she says.

Because the homeowner has a large family, the outside island was designed to accommodate as much seating as possible. A raised section for seating promotes gathering “and provides ample room for her to have guests sit while she is entertaining,” comments Wade.

A lower area houses the main sink and plenty of counter space for clean up after large family gatherings.

Imperial Verniz granite is featured on this island to complement the countertops on the perimeter cabinetry. Decorative black wrought iron supports add an elegant and slightly ornate touch below. Decorative pendant lights over the island finish the look.

Stainless Style

A number of high-end appliances provided additional function to the room. “The homeowner liked the look of stainless steel appliances, so we didn’t even try to use panels,” comments Wade.

The stainless steel Dacor gas cooktop located below the custom cherry wood mantel was purposely pulled forward, accenting the depth as well as the color variations of the two tones of the room’s featured cabinetry. The cooking area also includes a stainless steel microwave oven/wall oven combination.

A stainless steel refrigerator from Samsung was built into the wall around the turn from the cooking area. “It had all of the feature the homeowner wanted, with the exception of the overall depth of the unit,” explains Wade. The designer took space from the adjacent walk-in pantry and recessed the unit, which gave it a built-in appearance.

“The refrigerator was something that was newly offered by Samsung,” reports Wade. “You can alter the two drawers to make them freezer drawers, or you can make one a refrigerator drawer and one a freezer drawer.”

A Sub-Zero wine cooler was also installed in the butler’s pantry off of the kitchen, which provides easy access to beverages while entertaining.

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