HAMPSTEAD, NC— Ask Robert Williams about the main kitchen featured in this Southern Colonial/Greek Revival-style home, and he will likely tell you that there is much more to it than meets the eye.
Williams, v.p./product design for the Toccoa, GA-based Habersham – a manufacturer of hand-painted and stylized showpiece furniture reproductions and custom cabinetry that had its roots in the furniture industry – explains that the goal was to create a stylish and seamless design that would “hide most of the appliances so it appeared that they were non-existent.”
The homeowners also wanted the main kitchen, as well as the summer kitchen, butler’s pantry, wet bar and bathrooms, to have as much storage as possible. And, of course, they wanted the kitchen to incorporate strong aesthetics and functional benefits that would make it the envy of all who saw it.
To accomplish this, Williams oversaw the work of a design team that included Alice Evans, CKD, ASID, president of Dynamic Kitchens in Wilmington, NC; Bill Paschal, sales representative for Habersham; various members of the Habersham kitchen and bath design staff, and the homeowners themselves.
The primary functional elements were designed around the scale of the rooms in the house (each ceiling in the home is 12') and, according to Williams, these elements provided plenty of storage, surface work space and access for household items.
With such a grand layout with which to work, the design team also needed to create an equally grand aesthetic.
“For the main kitchen, the primary aesthetic relied upon Habersham’s hand-painted, ornamental Monochromatic Venetian hearth range hood design with curios, a customized display panel at the end of the L-shaped island to showcase the client’s treasures, and lovely European-carved corbels with Habersham’s signature hand-styled finish,” Williams explains.
Other features in the room include a 48" Wolf stove; a Sub-Zero with a 27" refrigerator door on the right side, along with two refrigerator drawers below and a 27" freezer door on the left side with two refrigerator drawers below; two Franke sinks (one 20" single bowl with disposal and a 32" double bowl with purified water filter and disposal); two 24" Miele dishwashers and an Absolute Black granite top for the L-shaped island.
For Williams, the most important aspect of the design was to maximize storage without compromising the home’s overall design theme – and that meant choosing the right cabinetry.
He explains: “The client’s most important goal for both kitchens was that they provide plenty of storage for utensils, flatware, cookware, fine china, stemware, silverware, food, beverages and any amenity that you could think of that would be needed to outfit the modern kitchen.”
Williams selected what he describes as cabinetry in a Grand European Casual style, which features Habersham’s Taupe multi-color finish with Champagne accents. Williams and the design team opted for an integrated design, highlighted by wooden door panels on the dishwashers, waste bin, refrigerator, and the cabinets that house the toaster oven and coffee bar.
“This exterior finish is enhanced by the Tricorn Black finish used on the interiors of the doors and shelves of the curios bracketing the hearth design,” he explains.
The utility and utensil drawers were placed strategically for easy access when using the kitchen for food preparation, cooking and serving. The design team also used plate racks, glass-front display cabinets with touch lighting and adjustable shelving within the cabinets for decorative yet functional storage.
“The lighting element that Habersham provided keyed on the inside of the glass-front cabinets used to store the client’s fine china, silver and collectibles from around the world,” explains Williams. “The touch lighting and wood-framed glass shelves found in specific cabinets allowed for either soft glowing light or illumination of the precious artifacts that they held.
“The main kitchen also opens up to the ‘keeping room,’ which includes a Habersham table, chairs and entertainment wall unit,” he continues. “It allows for open but convenient use of all kitchen assets.”
A desk located off of the main kitchen provides a more quiet and private area, creating a retreat for catching up on family business.
The large, L-shaped island plays a key role in the kitchen’s overall design, according to Williams. Placed where it cannot be seen from the living room, the island also has a limited view from the dining room.
It provides much-needed functional space for food preparation, eating and utensil storage, as well as the Miele dishwashers, Franke sinks and concealed waste bin.
Absolute Black granite and polished limestone countertops were specifically chosen because “they allowed the top to fade into the background and not appear too large. Since the cabinetry was more of a focal point, this particular top created a nice flow throughout the room,” Williams observes.
“There is plenty of room to work between the cooking area and the island,” he continues, “as well as gracious space between the opposing cabinetry along the wall that houses the refrigerator, toaster oven and coffee bar.”
He continues: “Having the Sub-Zero within reach, along with the sinks and dishwashers placed in two different locales on the island, allows for efficiency that mirrors the kitchens of the finest restaurants across America.”
A customized display end panel on the island is one of its greatest features, according to Williams. It was created to showcase some of the client’s sea shells and treasured collectibles.
The Grand European Casual theme is continued in the lower-level, summer kitchen. A more masculine look is achieved in this room through the use of a rich, dark finish applied to the same style cabinetry as the main kitchen.
This kitchen features a 30" GE Monogram stove, 18" GE dishwasher and a stainless steel 36" Sub-Zero with single-door refrigeration above and freezer below.
A distinguishing element in the lower-level area is an antique pub bar that the homeowner had imported from Ireland. The bar inspired the surroundings that emulate the Irish pub environment the homeowner desired.
It is the island in the summer kitchen, however, with its Verde Borgogna marble top, that serves as the primary aesthetic element of the overall space. The island provides an area to enjoy a quick snack from the pub or a meal cooked out on the back veranda’s grill. The island also provides ample storage options, and a compartment for the GE1590 microwave convection oven.
“The island has gold and greenish tones that flow throughout and call to mind the small islands of the Intracoastal Waterway that can be seen from the windows,” Williams reports. “The placement of this island is the standard middle-of-the-room location, with plenty of room to work both around it and between it,” he adds.
To address the needs of the space, the team used Habersham cabinetry along the wall leading into the pub area.
“This storage complements the cabinetry around the range, the sink area and the island,” Williams stresses.
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