Design details highlight the kitchen and complement the view

Annapolis, MD — An open floor plan that provides for a warm, casual environment combined with walls of windows that offer stunning views draw immediate attention in this Annapolis, MD, cottage that overlooks the river. But it doesn’t take long before visitors take notice of the kitchen, which is highlighted with design details that create an informal yet sophisticated environment for entertaining and family get-togethers.

Mark T. White, CKD, CBD and owner of Kitchen Encounters, in Annapolis, MD, designed the space in collaboration with Debra A. Lysy, interior designer and owner of Lysy Interior Designs, LLC in Sedona, AZ, and Greg Lauer Custom Homes, also in Annapolis, where Scott Carpenter served as the project supervisor.

“This waterfront cottage remodel had some awesome design opportunities, and some challenges,” notes White. “The design is the result of a successful collaboration between the kitchen designers, the clients, the interior designer and skilled craftsmen.”

The Focal Points

Design opportunities started with the panoramic view of the river. “It’s the focus of the home,” reports White. “We didn’t want to lose that view when we designed the kitchen.”

White opted for a quarter-circle raised counter nestled within the L-shaped island. Crafted by Chesapeake Cabinet & Woodwork in Annapolis, it is topped with dark-stained, hand-hewn alder, accented with a sage green beadboard support.

“The raised counter offers an opportunity to enjoy the view, rather than just the kitchen,” he says, noting that he prefers curved seating to straight-line seating to encourage conversation. The curved countertop, with its nearly 5'5" radius, also controls traffic flow into the kitchen.

The focal point of the kitchen is the range hood, which features a Best ventilation unit and is highlighted with Ann Sacks tile for the backsplash. The maple hood is accented with architectural details that include raised panels and decorative corbels. “The corbels aren’t necessary for support, but they add a clean, mantel-type element to the area without being fussy,” says White.

Overcoming Storage Concerns

Design challenges included everything from the open floor plan and sloped ceiling to the awkward niche at the back of the kitchen.

“The open floor plan meant we had very little wall space for wall cabinets,” he says. There are just two glass-front cabinets, each accented with “mug shelves” that allow the homeowners to keep frequently used items handy, without occupying counter space. “The remaining wall space was quickly eaten up with the refrigerator and the hood, so we had to make sure we had all of the right functional storage built into the cabinets below the counter.”

As such, the custom cabinets from Bentwood Kitchens – which were painted a warm buttermilk and accented with sage green beadboard interiors where visible – were selected with storage in mind. Along the exterior wall, wide, deep drawers accommodate pots and pans. Narrow pull-out cabinets, designed to look like apothecary drawers, flank the dual-fuel Wolf range and provide storage for spices. Additional appliances along the exterior wall include a Sharp microwave drawer, Wolf wall oven and integrated Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer with arch-top doors that showcase an armoire-style design.

The L-shaped island, topped with Kashmir Gold granite, is 9'5" in each direction. It was designed with function in mind. One “branch” provides ample storage for platters, serving trays and extra sets of dishes and doubles as a buffet serving area for entertaining. A furniture-style display cabinet with arched glass doors and LED lighting provides a finishing touch.

“This end faces the living room,” notes White. “We wanted an attractive foreground focal point so that when you look into the kitchen from the living room, your eye pauses, giving you the feeling that you’re looking at more than just the end of the kitchen cabinets.”

The second “branch” houses a Franke apron sink with a Perrin & Rowe faucet, waste/recycling containers, integrated Bosch dishwasher and additional drawer storage. A bookcase at this end showcases the sage green beadboard interior.

Bringing It All Together

The niche at the end of the kitchen is fitted with the refrigerator/freezer and pantry, which features extra-deep, 36" slide-out shelves. A custom-designed, wood-topped alder hutch, stained in a complementary hue with matching sage green interior, was placed on the side of the pantry, facing into the kitchen. It features glass-front cabinets for display as well as bi-fold solid doors to conceal small appliances.

Additional storage is included in a small bar area adjacent to the kitchen. It features complementary buttermilk-painted cabinetry and a Sub-Zero wine cooler and refrigerator drawers.

The remaining challenge – the sloped tongue and groove ceiling – was solved by varying the height of the cabinets and crown moulding. “The easy solution would have been to leave open space above the cabinets,” he says, adding that the ceiling was only 88" high on the back wall. “But we didn’t like the look, nor did we want a ‘dust collector.’ Instead, we made the cabinets as tall as possible, filling in the remaining space with multi-layered moulding that went up to the ceiling.”

Overcoming obstacles while highlighting opportunities resulted in a kitchen that provides the homeowners with a “great place to cook, eat and entertain while enjoying the fabulous view,” White says. “The design stands out because everything comes together to create a beautiful, yet functional space, everything from the cabinetry and floor plan all the way through to the selection of finishes in the cabinets, countertops and tile.”