Kitchen Design Receives Divine Intervention

NEW DERRY, PA—Some might call the creation of this 16'x26' kitchen a case of divine intervention.

The expansion kitchen took its design cues from the homeowners’ acquisition of pews, stained glass and lighting salvaged from the demolition of a local church. The heavenly design was a collaborative effort between architectural engineer Jeff Schawk, George Mittaly of Mittaly Cabinets, Nick Gulas of J & J Construction and homeowners Joe and Karen Dunn.

According to Mittaly: “The clients’ dream was for a kitchen the whole family could congregate in. They have a friend who tears down old buildings and he mentioned that he was tearing down a nearby church and told them about the stained glass windows and front door with stained glass above it.”

However, making the materials work in a functional design proved challenging.

“The biggest challenge was deciding how to add a large kitchen which would match the architecture of the existing house without making it look like it was tacked onto the structure,” he says.

Divine Design

The layout features a warm combination of appealing aesthetics, ergonomics and special touches that reflect the clients’ tastes.

“Our kitchen is just a little of this, a little of that, and a lot of us,” notes Karen Dunn.

The design team constructed a cathedral ceiling using salvaged barn beams to create a warm feel. The doorway to the new kitchen was cut from where the old kitchen window existed. The existing kitchen was then converted into a dining room adjacent to the new kitchen.

Reusing and recycling materials were the keys to creating the warm aesthetic the clients desired.

The fireplace brick and the brick on one wall was taken from a house in New Alexandria as well as a house in St. Vincent that had the same brick. The wood around the stained glass-window was refurbished but managed to keep its antique, Old World charm.

The result is an impressive combination of old and new which pops at first sight.

Mittaly offers: “When you enter the room, you see the depression-glass cupboard, and the cooktop with huge stainless steel hood from Tech Sheet Metal above it. You see the fireplace, pews, church lighting, stained glass windows and the double church doors with the arched stained glass window over it.”

The design centers around the double-bowl stainless steel apron sink from Elkay, which is located in the center island. Dual Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawers flank it on either side for convenience.

To the right of the center island is a Broan trash compactor with pull-out vegetable drawers next to it.

To complement these choices, the design team selected a variety of other high-end appliances, including a six-burner, gas double oven from DCS; double-bowl stainless steel apron sink from Elkay; “Lady Lox” stainless steel faucet from Grohe; and a Panasonic commercial microwave.

Stainless steel proved to be a smart aesthetic complement.

Mittaly comments: “The clients liked the thought of the stainless steel appliances and sink but thought it would take away from the warmth I wanted. To their surprise, it all blends together very nicely.”

The middle island plays a crucial role as well, he says.

“The island has a right dog leg to make room in between the island, the fireplace and the breakfast nook,” he points out.

The clients, who were active participants in the process, note that, “We had to talk them into staining the island green and putting the green rope on top of the crown molding on the outer cabinets; we felt the color was complementary.”

The countertops are Vanite by Vangura, a mix of natural quartz, quartz sand, pigments, polyester resin and adhesives, which is stain-, heat- and scratch-resistant.

“The middle island countertop is mainly black while the other countertops are a black and green mix,” and bring out the green cabinets in the center island, Mittaly notes.

He continues: “The table for the breakfast nook is made from the same solid surface as our countertops, with a custom base for the table. The nook is in a corner surrounded by four windows with wooden blinds. Above is a Tiffany stained-glass chandelier.”

Mittaly adds that the breakfast nook was placed to the left of the fireplace and was constructed using the two salvaged church pews, while the table is made from the same Vanite as the countertops. The base was made by Mittaly Cabinets to match the pews.

Says Mittaly: “Overall, due to the church doors, stained glass and lights, we’ve brought the church into the clients’ kitchen.”

Storage Salvation

A saving grace of the unusual design is the inclusion of many different types of storage space.

The design team selected easy-retrieval cabinets, featuring roll-out shelving which made food preparation and meal clean-up organizationally much more efficient.

“Having pull-out drawers in every cupboard enables the clients to find everything easily,” he says.

The layout features three 78" cabinets: one for pots and pans; one for canned goods and cereal, and a third for baking supplies.

He continues: “We made two of the cabinets with glass panes and glass shelves. A higher cabinet was also built with glass doors and shelves to house the clients’ depression glass collection.”

Light of the World

Lighting was critical to the success of the design.

“We integrated two skylights into the cathedral ceiling and installed recessed lights under the cabinets, into the ceiling and into the glass door cabinets,” he says.

A proper lighting solution was ultimately struck with a balance of natural and artificial light.

“The architectural engineer suggested putting in two skylights to bring natural light into the kitchen,” says Mittaly.

A ceiling fan was installed alongside the lighting to aid air circulation and ventilation.

“We added two recessed eyeball lights on the fireplace, a spotlight on the stained-glass window above the door and six other recessed eyeball lights throughout the kitchen ceiling,” he says.

“All the top cabinets are lit with recessed lights. Plus, there is a huge barn beam running [parallel] to the kitchen ceiling. Just inside the kitchen doorway we placed barn beams with a barn beam shelf sitting underneath the other stained glass window. The stained-glass window was also backlit with a 4' fluorescent light for added effect.”

The design also includes chandeliers salvaged from the church, and now hang above the island.

Mittaly concludes: “The cabinets, countertops, appliances, fireplace, church pews, doors, windows, and lights, and the old oak floor all make this a very unique design.”

For more about this project, click here.

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