Designers Add Timeless Touch to Showhouse Kitchen

LANCASTER, PA Asked to revitalize an outdated kitchen as part of the 2004 Decorator Showhouse, Linda Webb and Robert Hogg knew that a flexible and timeless design was the only way to go. After all, the home a 1925 classic revival house certainly stood out compared to other "typical' designs of the area, and the husband-and-wife team wanted the kitchen to stand out, as well.

"The house was perfect for the project, but it included a very outdated, '70s-style kitchen," Webb explains.

The kitchen features a contemporary and transitional design theme. It comes complete with a media center, ample storage and a flexible color scheme based in natural tones.

"As far as layout, we probably took it back more to what it was like in its original form. But, we also did all new wiring and plumbing," Webb says, adding that smart home technology was integrated, as well.

But, she is quick to note that "it is a very practical kitchen, especially if you are doing a lot of entertaining [which is the case with this kitchen]."

Webb continues: "The traffic flow is great because you are right there; you can service the dining room for formal entertaining or you can go out either direction if you are entertaining in the yard."

Webb adds that although she and her husband who are co-owners of Classic Quarters, also based here have participated in the Decorator Showhouse for the past 25 years, that did not prevent them from encountering new design challenges with this project. "This house was owned by a single father and it would have been inappropriate for us to do something overly feminine or create something that did not appeal to his senses," reports Webb. "At the same time, we wanted it to be a marketable kitchen in the event that he chose to put the house on the market."

She believes that "the blending of the old and the new and the adding of bright color make the kitchen unique. We wanted it to have enough personality, where you didn't feel like you were walking into a neutral setup."

Island in the Stream

A focal point of the kitchen, Webb notes, is the stunning center island. It features a unique oval shape, Zodiaq countertops and eye-catching columns, which were installed to reflect the home's exterior.

"We had a local fabricator do the island, and they did a nice serviceable edge for it that had a real good look and feel to it," she states. "He cut the corners and made that end a true oval to give us the maximum overhang and ample clearance. There's about 26 inches of overhang there. It's a big, wide oval end that gives you some flexibility for many to sit.

"The Zodiaq [countertops] really brought life to the room. The [countertops are done in] an espresso color with some gold flecks, which is played up by the golden colors of the wall," she remarks. "The coloring seemed neutral enough that it allowed for color change in the room."

To ensure a consistent feel to the kitchen, the butler's pantry and sink area also feature Zodiaq countertops, as does a desktop found in the media area.

What's in Store

According to Webb, one of the main elements of the design is the use of storage space. Specifically, she cites Plain & Fancy's maple Shaker beaded inset doors and drawers which are found throughout the kitchen and butler's pantry as enabling the client to easily store decorative items, china and cookware.

"In the butler's pantry there's a double-deep overhead cabinet that's open," she reports. The cabinet allows the user ease of storage for glassware straight from the dishwasher.

"The entire room is surrounded by 24-inch deep cupboards that have doors that match the

kitchen," Webb notes. There is another cupboard with folding doors that has the washer and dryer behind it, complete with storage above and below.

"In the kitchen, we used very simple shelf storage, because there was so much of it," she offers. This helped Webb keep costs down. "With that many cabinets in appropriate places, you don't have to boost [the client's budget] by adding expensive interior fittings to allow for pull-outs," she explains.

Webb also reports that the storage drawers and doors featured in the cooking area complement the stainless steel dishwasher, 30" black electric cooktop, 27" stainless microwave convection oven and 42" side-by-side stainless steel refrigerator, all from Jenn-Air.

Color cues

For Webb, the linen finish of the cabinetry, as well as the Zodiaq countertops, enabled her to explore interesting color combinations. "We tried to keep the cabinetry neutral, yet we didn't hold back with the walls. We were trying to do it in a flexible manner, so if blue happened to be your color, you were free to use it," she says.

Webb also points out that the Jenn-Air downdraft oven is complemented by the backsplash, which features coffee bean tongue and groove board "with a slight sheen to it.

"The coloring that we used on the wall that golden coloring was also complemented by the coffee bean color in the backsplash, which was then matched to the trim. That is where we drew our color," she concludes. "We finished by painting all of the hallways that were adjacent to that room to visually tie the kitchen into the rest of the house."

Media Frenzy

Keeping with the contemporary design theme, Webb and Hogg turned the kitchen into an "all-in-one media room," according to Webb. "We used a flat-screen TV along the one wall that was tied into the computer system so it could be used for video games or computer programming. The office area is what runs that TV, which is located across from what we used as a dining area."

She adds, "There is also a built-in console table that features a ledge with a flat-screen TV attached to the wall above it. The media system in the back butler's pantry powers that entire area.

"We have a company that we deal with that does smart house wiring, media systems and home theaters and he prepared that for this project," she continues. "[With all of the technology in the kitchen], it became almost a one-room living environment."