The Levine Group, Silver Spring, Md.
The kitchen of this large row house had not been touched for 30 years. It was dingy, dark, small and isolated from the rest of the house. The clients, a ceramic/glass sculptor and her husband, wanted a bright, open, unique kitchen, great for entertaining, with lots of display space for artwork. The challenge was finding ways to provide enough light for a building type that allows few side windows. The additional challenge was in the skill required to successfully achieve a modern, minimal design.
Because row house structure spans from side wall to side wall, the remodeling team was able to open up the space and create a whole new plan, free of interior partitions. The concept was to create a loft-like feel, with a grid of glass across the rear facade. The windows look out on an urban alley-scape that the homeowners love, full of a variety of materials and colors. The goal was to connect to the urban setting, rather than provide an oasis from it.
The kitchen plan centers on a long island that separates the working area from the traffic flow to the rear door. A full height wall unit runs the length of the kitchen, rhythmically combining open wall space, glass display cabinets and closed storage space. Traditional above-the-counter wall cabinetry is limited, enhancing the open feel of the space and offering more opportunity for window space and art display. The soft material palette combines man-made and natural materials — cherry wood veneer, stainless steel and plastic laminate. The flooring is bamboo set flush with a porcelain tile that borders the cabinets and wraps up the wall to provide a backsplash and deep window sill. Hot water radiant floor heat warms the entire room.
Special attention was paid to the ceiling, where the bulkheads housing the HVAC ductwork are used to help define the kitchen and dining spaces. A tray ceiling over the island, housing indirect up-lighting and a long sleek pendant light, emphasizes the length of the space and creates a sense of intimacy at the island. Recessed, undercabinet and ceiling-mount lighting are also used to highlight the artwork and bring a variety of moods to the space.
The dramatic openness of the space carries through to the existing center of the house. What was once closed and dark now is open, light and airy. The artwork “pops” off the walls and cabinetry. Entertaining flows easily. The new space makes a perfect backdrop for urban living.
Advance Design Studio, Ltd.
Stimmell Consulting Group, Inc.