Casual Living and Formal Style Blend in Dream Kitchen

Naples, FL — When Melissa Barnaby of Barnaby Interiors, LLC in Atlanta, GA was brought in to collaborate on the design of a Naples, FL, kitchen midway through the project, she immediately put a halt to its progress. “The jobsite just wasn’t coming together as the homeowners had hoped,” she recalls. Proportions and scales weren’t right, and originally the island was so large they couldn’t fully open up the cabinets.

While some materials and products had already been purchased and installed, Barnaby set out to refocus the remaining efforts and rework the space to better reflect the homeowners’ personalities and how they wanted to live in their kitchen.

For starters, she redesigned the upper cabinets, adjusting their height to take better advantage of the beach view and 11-foot-tall ceilings as well as provide better balance with a cohesive flow. She also modified the mouldings and archway and completely reconfigured the island.

Since the couple had amassed a collection of keepsakes from various travels, Barnaby also believed it was important to incorporate display space with accent lighting to highlight the pieces that reflected the homeowners’ lives.

Space to entertain

The home, a dream retirement residence for a Midwest couple, is geared for entertaining large numbers of people. Both the island and the peninsula offer plenty of space for food preparation and buffet-style serving.

The island, which features custom-crafted lacewood veneer cabinets and a Blanco sink with Kohler faucet, is topped with cocobolo wood. Barnaby changed its original wide-plank top to include 3"x3" staggered pieces that reflect a butcher block design. She also toned down the wood’s natural vivid red color with a custom stain to soften it and highlight the beauty of its grain, while better matching the rest of the cabinetry.

“The island was a bit of a challenge,” she notes. “The wood was already purchased, and while we liked its durability and movement, getting the tonal value to match and flow with the rest of the wood was a bit difficult.”

Yin and yang

Barnaby also changed the lower portion of the peninsula to include angled zebrawood veneer. This helped maintain continuity with the already-installed lower cabinets made of the same veneer with the same angle. The peninsula, as well as the perimeter cabinetry, is topped with 6cm Asterix granite fabricated by VT Industries.

It provides one force of the somewhat yin and yang personality of the couple, notes Barnaby. “While they both like a casual lifestyle that revolves around entertaining, he is more casual while she enjoys a little more formality to the space,” she says. “With the new design, we met in the middle.”

He enjoys the custom-stained lacewood veneer upper cabinets, which are complemented with the zebrawood veneer lower cabinets. “The dark cabinets are a bit more masculine with a bit of texture,” she notes. “And the zebrawood with its stripe is a little more masculine, too. But then we came in with some finishes she prefers, such as the countertop. It has a little bit of metallic with lots of depth and dimension provided by the auburn, copper, black and green.”

She also enjoys the iridescent 1/2"x1" staggered Oceanside glass brick tile backsplash. “There’s already a lot going on with the lacewood and zebrawood,” says Barnaby. “The glass doesn’t overpower the space and it adds harmonious balance.”

Functional Beauty

To accommodate her client’s love of cooking, Barnaby included a Wolf cooktop and microwave drawer; Miele dishwasher, double ovens and warming drawer, and dual Sub-Zero refrigerators. The bar area features an undercounter Sub-Zero beverage/wine cooler and a U-Line ice maker.

Specialized storage organizes pots, pans and serving pieces. Additional storage is included in the butler’s pantry, which features a Miele coffee server. Rocky Mountain hardware accents the cabinetry with a subtle texture and a white bronze finish that can withstand exposure to saltwater and ocean air, according to Barnaby.

Two circular pendants, designed by Barnaby utilizing amber semi-precious stone and hammered nickel, provide a harmonious balance to the various elements and materials used throughout the space. “They’re very organic,” she says. “They provide a subtle contrast to the angles and clean lines of the cabinetry.”

A Blanco kitchen sink accented with a Kohler faucet overlooks the formal living room. “It’s almost like it is its own picture window looking into the gorgeous living area,” she says. “The nice thing about this house is its fluid, open floor plan. There are many focal points, depending on where you stand. If you’re in the family room, you get a nice view of the archway between the two refrigerators, yet you can still view the beach outside and the beautiful detail of the cooktop with the ‘pretties’ displayed above. On the opposing side, glass upper cabinets display stemware and dishes.

"The space is functional, yet aesthetically pleasing." she continues. "The dream home, to be shared with family and friends, maintains the familiarity of the couple’s Midwest background.”