Gothic Style Flexes Its Muscles in the Kitchen

Gothic Style Flexes Its Muscles in the Kitchen

by Barbara Capella Loehr
BALTIMORE, MD - Injected with a healthy dose of testosterone, the kitchen - designed by Roland M. Neifeld, Jr., president of Baltimore-based The Kitchen Design Studio of Northfield Sales Co., Inc. - has a distinctive masculine appeal.

Neifeld's client - a bachelor - wanted a look that reflected his lifestyle and continued the Gothic Revival theme he already had in his home. The masculine kitchen also had to accommodate several people working in it at once, as well as be set up for frequent entertaining.

Several design challenges faced Neifeld - one of which being that, in order to create a continuous flow from the kitchen into the dining area, and on into the adjacent family room, he had to first remove a wood stove, raise the floor up three steps and extend it the entire width of the room - thereby lengthening the dining area. He also had to make sure the new steps were placed in the center, directly opposite the stone fireplace in the family room.

To assist him with this daunting task, Neifeld enlisted the help of the Fallston, MD-based Griffith-Brilhart Builders, Inc. Together they began with a clean slate, as Neifeld decided that the original kitchen - with its "lavender" color scheme, light cherry cabinetry and blue ceramic tile countertops - should be completely "gutted." Explains Neifeld, "[The old kitchen] didn't flow into the other areas of the home. It was just sort of put in the middle."

Gothic design
With a clean slate to work with, Neifeld started the masculine kitchen design with cherry custom cabinetry from Kountry Kraft that featured a dark wineberry stain, and dark granite countertops to keep the Gothic Revival design theme flowing.

The new cabinetry extends around the entire kitchen, and features mullion glass cabinet doors on the wall cabinets. The cabinetry is even at top, with varied lengths at bottom - the longest wall cabinets measuring 42" with a 15" depth for additional storage space, explains Neifeld. All of the base cabinets were given roll-outs for easy accessibility, according to Neifeld.

"We [also] created bulkheads above the cabinetry to keep costs down in relocating the ductwork for the heating systems," adds Neifeld.

In addition, Neifeld decided to give the countertops a unique look. For the countertops on the perimeter walls of the kitchen, Neifeld applied a three-inch-deep, 8/4 solid cherry wood edge in front, placed another three-inch-deep solid cherry piece in back, and inlaid solid granite between the cherry pieces. He then used full granite slabs on the island, leaving enough overhang to create not only a place for guests to gather, but also extra workspace. Says Neifeld, "This offers plenty of workspace in each area [of the kitchen]." The island is "enhanced by fluted corner pilasters," Neifeld adds.

Completing the unique granite look, Neifeld turned his attention to the backsplash. There, Neifeld combined tile, which lined the bottom, with granite, which received a criss-cross design - "a one-of-a-kind look," says Neifeld.

With the key design elements in place, the Gothic theme was set, says Neifeld. "The dark Gothic theme flows from one room to the next."

Entertaining function
To ensure the design lent itself to the rigors of frequent entertaining, Neifeld installed plenty of amenities. For example, Neifeld installed not one, but two separate downdraft cooktops - one, a four-burner, 30" DACOR smoothtop electric cooktop; the other, a two-burner, 18" Jenn-Air gas cooktop. This was to give the client the best of both cooking worlds, explains Neifeld.

Dual designing continued when Neifeld installed two 27" DACOR warming drawers, and finished the island with two Blanco 18-gauge, stainless steel, undermount sinks - featuring a KWC faucet, a KitchenAid instant hot water dispenser and a Blanco remote pop-up drain, says Neifeld.

Neifeld then incorporated a GE Profile microwave, as well as a KitchenAid Superba dishwasher and 15" compactor, into the design for easy entertaining.

A 48" Sub-Zero refrigerator finished the functional portion of Neifeld's design, while helping to further the Gothic Revival design theme - the refrigerator features panels that match the cabinetry.

Finishing touches
"Many recessed fixtures in the ceiling" subtly light the kitchen, dining area and family room, while low-voltage, undercabinet halogen lights illuminate all of the work surfaces "to the 'max,'" notes Neifeld.

Finishing the design, Neifeld used custom railing on the steps connecting the kitchen and dining area to the family room. The railing - along with the table and lighting accessories - lend a "sheer richness" to the design, says Neifeld.

"[The design] was a drastic change, but [the client] was pleased with our end result," concludes Neifeld.

Project Highlights
  • Continuous design flow between the kitchen and the adjacent family room required the designer to raise the floor and place three new steps opposite the fireplace in the family room, thereby extending the dining area.
  • To give the kitchen a masculine look and continue the desired Gothic Revival theme, the designer installed dark cherry cabinetry with a wineberry stain and dark granite countertops.
  • The designer gave a 'one-of-a-kind' look to the countertops on the perimeter walls by inlaying solid granite inside two, three-inch-deep pieces of solid cherry wood. He also used a mix of tile and granite on the backsplash.
  • With respect to function, Neifeld installed a number of amenities that lend themselves to easy entertaining: two warming drawers, two cooktops, a double wall oven, a compactor and two undermount, stainless steel sinks in the island.
  • Completing the design were plenty of recessed lights in the ceiling, as well as halogen lights underneath the wall cabinets. They not only illuminate the general areas, but also each separate work area in the kitchen.
  • Products include: custom cherry wineberry cabinetry by Kountry Kraft; custom, solid-cherry-wood-edge countertops with inlaid granite by The Kitchen Design Studio of Northfield Sales Co., Inc.; two undermount, 18-gauge, stainless steel sinks and a pop-up remote drain by Blanco America; a faucet by KWC Faucets; an instant hot water dispenser, Superba dishwasher and 15" compactor by KitchenAid; a 30" self-cleaning, convection double wall oven, two 27" warming drawers and a 30" electric, four-burner, downdraft smoothtop cooktop with a pop-up vent by DACOR; a Profile microwave by GE; an 18" gas, two-burner, downdraft cooktop by Jenn-Air; and a #532 48" refrigerator by Sub-Zero.