Kitchen Proves Traditional Need Not Be Commonplace

Planning for retirement was top of mind for the owners of this new construction home that overlooks Grand Traverse Bay in northwestern Michigan. They worked meticulously with Sandra Bargiel, CKD, of Bay Cabinetry and Design Studio, in Traverse City; design/build firm Whiteford Associates; and interior designer Meg Whiteford to create a warm and inviting gathering space that was spacious and tasteful, something that catered to everything from large parties to the homeowners sitting down to breakfast. The end result is a design that rethinks the classic approach, declaring that traditional design need not be commonplace.

“This kitchen rewrites the book on what is possible and what is not when it comes to designing an Old World feel,” says Bargiel. “The project can be described as traditional, but it has heavy contemporary influences. The cabinetry has a traditional feel, without Old World elements such as ornate crowns or turned legs. This leads to a more streamlined, yet comfortable, feel. What makes it unique is the fusion between the widely accepted concepts of traditional and contemporary design.”


Enjoy the View

In the kitchen, a top priority included creating plenty of space for cooking and prep activities. As such, the designer added a multi-level island, topped with Verde Jade granite, and equipped it with a prep sink. Its base – Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry maple cabinets with Shaker reverse-raised doors and Butter Cream enamel finish – provides additional storage, which was also a main concern for the homeowners.

“One of the biggest challenges was to make sure all of the storage spaces are easily accessible as the clients enter the elderly stages of life,” says Bargiel.

The designer achieved this goal by lowering the cabinetry from the ceiling, adding floating crown moulding as a finishing touch.

Another request was for plenty of room for more than one person to move freely within the interior space. To that end, Bargiel added a large amount of room between the kitchen sink and prep/bar sink area.

One feature that has attracted a great deal of attention is the stationary breakfast nook table, which is topped with iroko wood. “It wasn’t in the original plan,” notes Bargiel, “but there is something about it that makes people feel right at home. The homeowners can enjoy a morning cup of coffee while taking in the breathtaking views of the bay.”

Lighting was an important element as well. Natural light flows abundantly into the space from a wealth of windows throughout the kitchen as well as the adjoining living room. Bargiel complemented it with undercabinet lighting and pendant lights. Dimmable can lighting was incorporated to provide a subtle, warm ambiance that accents the warm woods.

Other distinctive features in the kitchen include open shelving and glass in several of the cabinet doors, including the bar area. Seagrass limestone serves as the backsplash, setting off the Electrolux cooktop, which is accented with a wainscoted decorative hood supported with corbels. “It mimics the fireplace in the living room,” she says. “Its design was meant to tie in the two ends of the living space.”

An Electrolux dishwasher, refrigerator and microwave round out the appliances.


Neutral palette

In the master bath, Bargiel focused on a neutral palette of ivories and creams, bringing in the classic simplicity of the rest of the house with porcelain tiles and Light Mocha painted/glazed Showplace Wood semi-custom maple cabinetry which is topped with Corian.

“The highpoint is the beautiful view from the tub area,” she says. “The windows were built to the tub deck to provide an unobstructed view of the bay.”

Like the kitchen, storage was also a concern in the bath. Medicine cabinet needs were tucked into a corner wall cabinet, easily accessible from the vanity and dressing table area. Tall storage holds towels and linens for both the bedroom and bath. "Storage is even found in shallow-depth drawers above the dressing table to hold small items like hair clips," she notes.

Bargiel designed the dressing table top in a way that allows the homeowner to sit comfortably close to the mirror, rather than leaning forward or requiring a magnifying mirror.

Vanity mirrors are framed in a wainscot effect, contributing to the elegance of the Neoclassic design.


Consider the entire home

Keeping in mind future retirement needs, Bargiel modified the original layout to make the living room and sunroom easily accessible from the kitchen. “They didn’t want to walk a long distance from the cooking area,” she explains. “The end result is an ergonomic layout that provides a comfortable transition between all areas involved.”

Bargiel notes that her firm takes the whole home into consideration when designing a room. “Every design element has been incorporated with the enhancement of another design feature in mind,” she says. “This makes a seamless and inviting living space that welcomes all who enter.”