Designers Customize Kitchen’s Exotic Appeal

Designers Customize Kitchen’s Exotic Appeal

By John Filippelli

This was the challenge facing Ken and Julie Bernhard, of St. Charles, IL-based SeBern Homes, Inc. and John Riggs, CKD, of Sandwich, IL-based Colonial Kitchen & Cabinetry, when they designed the Siena project home to be sold or held as a sales model by SeBern Homes, Inc.

Since there were no customer requirements, the three designers strove to develop an efficient and innovative kitchen, perfect for gourmet cooking and entertaining. Additionally, they utilized a "tropical" design theme which adds personality and visual punch, while showcasing the latest trends in cabinetry and special finish techniques.

By blending natural cherry cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops with a Black Galaxy hue and green accent notes, the designers were able to create an exotic and alluring design that had plenty of personality, while keeping the space functional – making it appealing to a wide variety of potential homeowners.

The design team also needed to look at the kitchen in context of the entire home. Thus, while remaining aware of the adjoining dinette, formal great room and living room, the designers were able to provide a kitchen space that was both aesthetically appealing and practical.

As Julie Bernard says, "By keeping the dinette, living room and kitchen adjoined, with the kitchen as the focal point, we created an open-style atmosphere for entertaining – both for formal and informal parties."

Tropical style

Choosing a Mediterranean/ Tropical design theme for the 20'x20' kitchen, the designers began with Mouser brand natural cherry cabinetry with special custom finish and a "burnished" edge, supplied by Colonial Kitchen & Cabinetry. A color scheme of rich, natural hues, with lots of brown tones and green accent notes, continued the theme.

The cabinetry was set at staggered heights to create a sense of symmetry on the range wall, blending with the overall exotic look of the space. The decision to stagger the heights of the cabinetry also created more space for storage within the kitchen.

To further complement the overall look of the kitchen, a custom green finish was used on the island cabinetry to accomplish an "island" style, while iron barstools at the island incorporate a pineapple design and fabric to further enhance the tropical theme.

Appliance power

The designers chose stainless steel Thermador appliances, such as a 48" range with griddle, a six-program dishwasher and a KitchenAid microwave to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of the kitchen. A unique wood 48" professional hood provides added visual appeal.

A custom "mantle" look updraft area adorns the professional Thermador range, and a custom tumbled marble backsplash accents the room’s tropical feel.

Rounding out the appliance lineup is a 42" framed Sub-Zero refrigerator, which is located across from one of the two islands within the kitchen.

For seamless styling, decorative panels are located on the hood and cabinetry display, and over the refrigerator, the designers note.

Keeping a cohesive feel, Riggs adds that, "The door front blends with the built-in Sub-Zero with decoration panels."

Countertop style

Black Galaxy granite with copper flaking, supplied by the Glendale Heights, IL-based Stone Design, was used for both the countertops and the large island in the kitchen, making a powerful visual statement and enhancing the architectural pewter door hardware. Julie Bernard states, "The Black Galaxy [granite] strikingly reflects the cherry in the cabinetry while shimmering under the recessed halogen under-cabinet lighting."

By using granite on the countertops, the designers achieved two goals: First, they created a balance between the countertops and the stone used on the flooring and backsplash. Second, the granite fit well within the primary elements of the kitchen, all of which were designed to create a feeling of warmth. This is evident in the use of natural shades and brown tones, completed by walls faux finished in natural tones with a green accent.

Molding was also utilized effectively by the designers, with the center island boasting custom angled legs, fluted trim and a valance toe kick to create a "furniture" look, with Enkeboll Designs supplying the onlays and corbels.

Storage secrets

Since the kitchen was designed for frequent entertaining, the large center island was designed to seat up to six people. Additionally, storage was key to the layout, with both islands containing drawers with shelves and roll-out drawers for extra storage.

Surrounding the center island are several vegetable storage bins that can also be used for decorative display when entertaining, keeping the balance of function and form. In addition, a bookcase is part of the large island, perfect for storing cookbooks.

Special bubbled glass was also used in the cabinetry to provide an antique look, while custom green accents were used in the bookcase and soffit areas.

The base cabinets feature roll-out drawers and, located on the hood and cabinetry display are decorative panels and doors that can be used for extra storage, according to the designers.

Furthermore, a unique hidden walk-in pantry with custom cabinetry doors adds storage possibilities without compromising space within the kitchen.

Halogen lighting was used under, in and above the cabinetry, which not only accents the trim and cherry wood, but also gives a greater sense of space, according to the design team. Halogen spot lighting was also used in the cabinetry with glass doors to highlight the natural wood.

The kitchen has very high (10') ceilings, so the designers took advantage of this by using pewter light chandeliers by Zanzeen. These mix with the custom pewter faucets and door hardware, adding the finishing touches to what the design teams views as a "Mediterranean masterpiece."

  • The major design concern was to develop an efficient and innovative kitchen, perfect for gourmet cooking and entertaining, without compromising the overall aesthetic of the Mediterranean/ Tropical design theme.
  • A key element to this kitchen is the use of Mouser brand Natural Cherry Wood cabinetry with a custom finish, which blends comfortably with the green hues of the granite countertops and islands, as well as the Thermador, Sub-Zero and KitchenAid stainless steel appliances.
  • A unique aspect to this kitchen is the use of two islands, one very large and the other small, with both featuring a custom green finish and several storage choices, such as drawers with shelves and roll-out drawers for convenience or decorative display.
  • Choices in faucetry reflect the overall design theme, with the designers choosing custom pewter faucets and door hardware to match, as well as pewter chandeliers.
  • The design has halogen recessed lighting that is used above the two islands, as well as halogen spot lighting in the cabinetry with glass doors.
  • Products include: Mouser brand natural cherry cabinets with custom finish and burnished edge; Black Galaxy granite countertops with copper flaking, supplied by Stone Design; a 48" stainless steel Thermador range with griddle; a 48" Thermador wood professional hood; a six-program stainless steel Thermador dishwasher; a 42" stainless steel Sub-Zero framed refrigerator, a stainless steel KitchenAid microwave and Zanzeen pewter light chandeliers.

project highlights