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Master-designer/Remodeler Sonny Nazemian Transforms a Dated Galley into A Generous Kitchen-centric Suite. | By John Byrd

When Fred and Tricia Taeger relocated to northern Virginia from Florida, the rub was less about cooler temperatures than the too-small and dated kitchen in their otherwise spacious home. “


We had a short time to find a house,” Tricia explains. “We’d grown accustomed to entertaining friends and family in our prior home, so the smaller kitchen in the house we’d just purchased was a problem.”


With five bedrooms and 4,100 square feet of living space, the 25-year-old house itself wasn’t especially small. There was a  sizable breakfast room linked to the kitchen, a family room and–down a corridor – a formal dining room served by a butler’s pantry and a mudroom linked to the garage.


“The square footage was fine, but the configuration of first level rooms didn’t work for us,” Taeger elaborates. “There was wasted space – particularly with regard to our requirements.”


Fortunately, in short order, Taeger was introduced to Sonny Nazemian, founder and president of Michael Nash Design Build & Homes.

““This is a family-friendly plan that called for a larger, more functional kitchen with a stronger relationship to socializing zones in all directions.”

– Sonny Nazemian

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Before: The original circa1990s galley kitchen was designed almost exclusively for cooking and clean-up. Ceiling-flush HVAC venting limited cabinet size to 30 inches. Cramped work triangles allowed little family interaction when meal prep was underway.

After: By incorporating square footage formerly deployed for a butler’s pantry and a garage-access mudroom, Michael Nash extended the existing kitchen 72 square feet generating floor space needed for a 3’ x 5’ food prep island and dining counter. Cabinets have been extended to the ceiling resulting in a 20 percent increase in storage capacity.

Opposite: Well-positioned serving stations facilitate an easy circulation pattern perfect for entertaining

Above: The generously light-filled former breakfast room inspired an interior design scheme that stresses softer muted tones; and access to family room with hearth.

“We had some ideas for improving the kitchen, but Sonny could see the big picture right from the start,” she recalls. “We were impressed with his clarity – but also with the convenient process afforded by his showroom, and the fixed-price arrangement.”


To better rationalize the kitchen’s space-restricted floorplan, Nazemian proposed deleting both the garage access mudroom and the butler’s pantry, a change that generated the 72 square feet of new floor space needed to convert the galley into a spacious gourmet affair handsomely situated in the heart of the house.


The solution establishes a stronger visual connection between the expanded kitchen and the formal dining room, but – more importantly – allocates space for a 3’ x 5’ food prep island and dining counter convenient to the dining room, refurbished breakfast room and family room with hearth.


To accommodate for the lost mudroom, the team introduced four personal storage cubbies along a beadboardclad wall opposite the entrance from the garage.


“This is a family-friendly plan,” says Nazemian. “The existing plan featured three well-defined gathering areas, but family needs called for a larger, more functional kitchen with a stronger relationship to socializing zones in all directions.”


“Also, because the house backs into a beautiful woodland,” he adds. “it made sense to heighten the indoor–outdoor continuum by removing some walls that obstructed sightlines.”


From the start, improved kitchen functionality meant more intelligently designed work triangles, a state-of-art cook top range, an increase in storage capacity and serving stations positioned to support the breakfast room, the dining room, and a family room. The “open plan” emphasizes visual linkage between rooms and makes a more sensible use of decking off the breakfast room.


To augment storage, Nazemian and team removed the ceiling flush HVAC system and replaced the standard 30” cabinets with 42” variants; glass-facing cabinets have been custom-designed to display specific stemware and china. There are special drawers for preferred spices, sauce pans and certain cooking implements.


“A decade back, there was less concern for optimizing kitchen floorplan,” the remodeler observes. “Since then, we’ve learned that re-routing HVAC concealed in bulk heads can create the vital wall surfaces needed for taller cabinets. This change can result in a 20 percent increase in kitchen storage capacity–which also means less clutter and surfaces that are better integrated into actual food prep.”


The existing builder-grade stove has been replaced with a six burner cooktop and professional caliber ventilating hood. There is now a pot filler above the range.

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The eye-catching backsplash has been articulated in multi color mosaic tiling that resonates within the softer palette employed for wall surfaces, flooring and cabinet facings. Taken as a whole, the re-made interior design offers a profound contrast from the earlier cedar-clad kitchen which the Taegers had come to regard as too dark.


After consideration of several options, designers pointed out that the generously light-filled former breakfast room provided an appropriate model for an interior scheme that would stress softer muted tones, wood grain flooring and lightly textured surfaces.”


“We were looking for a balance of elements suitable to the scale of a larger kitchen situated in the middle of everything,” Nazemian explains. “The lighter surfaces, flooring and cabinets facings work well in a space that boasts wooded views, and a lot of sunlight.”

Opposite, clockwise from top: Before: Kitchen view from dining room. Eliminat – ing a corridor that included a butler’s pan – try (left) and mudroom (right) generated critical kitchen floor space.

After: Well-positioned serving stations facilitate an easy circulation pattern perfect for entertaining; a wine refrigerator is situated midway between the kitchen and the family room; and the existing buildergrade stove which has been replaced with a six burner cooktop and professional caliber ventilating hood.

Above: The two-seat dining counter is a convenient place for kids with homework to catch-up with mom while meal prep is underway; and the view from the kitchen into the family room.

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Home Additions: Patricia Meder, Annandale, VA ---

“I would say, over the years we’ve hired Michael Nash anyway 15 different projects …”

Kitchen Remodeling: Jay and Gretchen MacMillan, Potomac Falls, VA ---

“… It was very scary, but overall it’s a very pleasant project for us” “I think it’s just like working with peers, they’re very nice and very open …”

Bathroom Remodeling: Cheryl Ann and John Helmick, Centerville, VA ---

“Oh they were fantastic (Michael Nash) … They came into the house and did everything …” “They were professional at all times …”

Home Additions

Patricia Meder, Annandele, VA

Kitchen Remodeling

Jay and Gretchen Mcmillan, Potomac Falls, VA

Bathroom Remodeling

Cheryl Ann and John Helmick, Centerville, VA

Michael Nash Design, Build & Homes
8630A Lee Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22031, USA

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