Cold, Dated Kitchen Receives Functional, Timeless Update

ROCKVILLE, MD — One would never know that this spacious, timeless kitchen was once a small, inefficient, dated space, replete with cold, white tile, huge black and white appliances and counter space that was eaten up by small appliances.

Indeed, when the owners – an executive and his retired wife – came to Wanda A. Alexander, ASID, they were ready to start with a clean slate.

“The wife wanted a larger kitchen with more counter and storage space. She also wanted to have more seating,” recalls the designer. She really wanted the new kitchen to have “an elegant and classy feeling” that was “warm and welcoming,” adds Alexander, who is owner of the Leesburg, VA-based Panache Interior,.

Timeless Efficiency
However, before Alexander could address the aesthetic issues, there were the original kitchen’s traffic-flow and efficiency issues to tackle. With the help of Steve Recicar of Rockville, MD-based Paradise Contracting, Lem Payne of Sterling, VA-based Plan-it Granite & Marble, Janet Kingston of Leesburg, VA-based MacDowell Custom Kitchens, Inc., and Joe Rasui of Gaithersburg, MD-based Tile Center, she expanded the space from 177"x270" to 177"x318".

“For more storage space, I had the contractor remove the soffits, enlarge the pass-through opening into the family room, and add an additional 4" to the back wall,” explains Alexander. “[I also had the contractor seal] off one of the two entryways that lead to the adjacent family room. Sealing up that one entry made the kitchen appear almost twice its size.”

Her spatial changes provided 279" of uninterrupted wall space for more cabinet and storage space and a longer kitchen island.

However, with one of the entryways sealed, she had “to ensure that there was ample space for traffic to flow with comfort around the island and through the kitchen into the family room,” she points out. She addressed this by creating a new traffic pattern leading from the garage entrance into the kitchen, plus one leading from the breakfast area, through the kitchen, into the family room.

She also enforced new traffic patterns by moving several appliances. “Except for the double oven and dishwasher, all other appliances were moved to a different location in the kitchen. The traffic flow in and out of the kitchen is now separate from the work zone for the cook,” she notes.

Specifically, she moved the new 36", five-burner Jenn-Air cooktop from the original center island to a countertop against the wall. The original island vent was a down-draft, so the contractor had to do additional work between floors to accommodate the new 36", 1,150 CFM Jenn-Air ductless vent system. The new built-in microwave from Jenn-Air and counter-depth, side-by-side refrigerator by KitchenAid were moved down from the area containing the cooktop, the 30", stainless steel, Jenn-Air double wall oven and the Kohler double-basin sink and Brizo Floriano faucet so as not to interrupt the cook. “[Then] the new 30" Jenn-Air warming drawer was installed into the top drawer space in the new island across from the new oven [for easy] transition from the oven to the warming drawer,” Alexander explains.

The warming drawer is just one element of the revamped island. “Her original 48"x48" island did not accommodate seating, and the old cooktop took up some of the countertop, leaving the client with little room to prep,” she elaborates. “The new island – a multi-level 46"x120" [version] – also has an undermounted single prep Kohler sink with a Brizo Floriano faucet and a pull-out trash bin. It sits across from the cooktop for easy prep and clean-up.”

The new island provides more countertop space for cooking at one end; the other end, which is set at bar height, accommodates four stools. “She also has seating in the breakfast nook,” notes Alexander.

She further installed two sets of French doors. One set is located on the same wall as the refrigerator and cooktop, leading to the outside deck. The second is situated on the back wall of the breakfast nook leading into the sunroom.

Keeping the Tradition
To blend with the rest of the home, Alexander incorporated traditional styling into the new kitchen, using a palette of warm colors “to create an emotional reaction [to induce a sense of] calmness and warmth.”

For starters, Alexander installed light maple wood Custom Cupboards cabinetry in Ginger with a Van Dyke Brown glaze. She used two different door styles, one for upper doors, and another for the base doors. The base doors feature dentil molding, a furniture-base toe board and matching door panels for all of the appliances.

Puck lighting and several glass panels are mixed in to accent glassware, while lighting installed midway under the cabinets illuminates the Voyara Gold granite countertops.

“The front of the island was designed to look like a piece of furniture, setting the tone for the rest of the kitchen. I wanted to give the front end of the island a furniture look, since it was seen from the dining area. We achieved that look by creating a chest facade with three drawers, corbels, fluted ends, corner pilasters and curved legs,” says Alexander.

She then grouped the cabinets in order to create four distinct cabinet towers. Each one is flanked with fluted columns and carved rosettes, giving all of them a common theme.

“The first cabinet tower was created with a wall cabinet and drawer that rested on the countertop and the Fisher & Paykel double DishDrawer dishwasher that was elevated to 42". The second cabinet tower houses the microwave. The third consists of two pantry cabinets stacked on top of one another. And the fourth houses the double oven and the TV above it,” explains the designer. Three of the four towers are located on the 279" sidewall.

Since the owners wanted a timeless feel, Alexander suggested paneling the appliances. “We decided to only expose the black glass on the cooktop, ovens and microwave. We also paneled the dishwasher,” she notes. “[And] the counter-depth refrigerator [furthers the] built-in look. I had the cabinet installer mount the cabinets above the refrigerator out from the wall to create the look.”

The original kitchen had two large pantries for storage, but Alexander decided “to install a larger 92" pantry for her large stock items with base cabinets on another wall for paper goods. The small appliances are now stored in the corner garage of the cabinets. There’s also lots of drawer space to store items that were once stored in other parts of her home,” she says. The new island further provides storage.

Additionally, Alexander included a host of other storage options such as pull-out shelves and towel bar, two base trash bins with drawers, stainless tip-out trays, a tray divider, a cutting board, a bread drawer, a frameless spice base cabinet and a pot drawer bank.

The old, white, glossy tile gave the original kitchen a cold feeling, and the owners were constantly cleaning it. “So I chose warm colors, terracotta, gold and beige tones. The combination of the cabinet colors, granite countertops and floor tiles were very harmonious,” comments Alexander.

For the floor Alexander selected a porcelain matte floor tile in terracotta, mustard and gray tones laid in a woven pattern using various shapes and sizes. This helped to give the kitchen a larger, yet warmer feel.

“Initially, the color chosen for the 6"x6" tumbled Travertine tiles for the backsplash was Golden Sienna, but the gold was too bold. Instead, I used a mix of the Golden Sienna and Ivory and Dark Walnut tumbled Travertine 6"x6" tiles to create a soothing feel that accented the cabinets and countertops. I used pewter accent tiles sparingly to tie in the hardware. I also wanted very little interruption with light switches and outlets. I had wire mold-electrical plug strips installed underneath the wall cabinets,” relates Alexander.

“I wanted a shadow-box effect for the backsplash above the cooktop, but the contractor was unable to accommodate,” she continues. “I found some Golden Ruby marble crown molding that was 4" deep that enabled me to create a recessed effect. Tumbled Travertine tiles measuring 2"x2" in the same colors as the main backsplash were used to create the design within the rectangle.”

Alight With Style
Alexander used different forms of lighting to create different moods. She installed halogen, recessed-can lighting and placed three Progressive Eden pendants over the center island. She speced a Progressive Eden chandelier over the breakfast table that’s controlled by a dimmer switch.

Last, but not least, Alexander “found two jacquard fabrics in terracotta and yellow with the same colors and different patterns that complemented each other to re-upholstered the chairs and bar stools” in order to match the rest of the kitchen’s warm, traditional scheme.

Project Highlights

  • Designer Wanda Alexander completely reconfigured the existing kitchen, and removed the soffits, enlarged the pass-through opening into the family room, added an additional 4" to the back wall and sealed one entry to the family room.
  • She included more storage space, and created a better traffic flow in and out of the kitchen.
  • She revamped the island, giving it a very detailed, traditional look, that set the tone for the kitchen.
  • Lastly, she applied a warm color palette to the new kitchen that includes maple Ginger cabinetry with a Van Dyke Brown glaze and Voyara Gold granite countertops.
  • Products include: Light maple wood Custom Cupboards cabinetry with dentil molding, furniture-base toe board, glass panels, puck lighting and matching door panels for all appliances in Ginger with a Van Dyke Brown glaze (style 45000 for upper doors, 30000 for base doors); Custom Cupboards storage options including pull-out shelves and towel bar, two base trash bins with drawers, stainless tip-out trays, tray divider, cutting board, bread drawer, frameless spice base cabinet, and pot drawer bank; Jenn-Air 36", five-burner SS-JEC9536ADS cooktop, 36", 1,150 CFM JXT7036ADS ductless vent with halogen lighting, 2.1 cu.-ft., 10-power-level, stainless steel, built-in SS-UMC5200AAS/FTK130SS microwave, 30", stainless steel, double wall SS-JJW9630DDS oven with convection in the upper portion, and 30" JWD7030CDX warming drawer with panel kit; KitchenAid 25CF side-by-side, counter-depth KSBS250ARS refrigerator; and Fisher & Paykel double DishDrawer DD603I dishwasher; Kohler double-basin K3351 and single prep K3341 sinks; Brizo Floriano Brilliance Stainless #63500-SSSD (plus soap dispenser) and 63510-SS faucets; Voyara Gold granite countertops with ogee edge; 6"x6" and 2"x2" Tumbled Travertine tiles in Dark Walnut, Golden Sienna and Ivory; pewter accent tiles; and 4"x12" ML00411INI Golden Ruby marble crown molding; porcelain matte floor tile; three Eden P5077-77 pendants and one Eden P4023-77 chandelier from Progressive; and halogen, recessed-can lighting.