A Kitchen Fit for a Chef: Classic French Country with a Dash of Zen
A young family expecting a child just bought into their first home – a 1964 colonial in Annandale, VA. There were many areas they wanted to renovate but with the wife being a professional chef, the kitchen was first and foremost.
The existing, dated and dark kitchen was located just to the right on foyer as you enter the home. As you entered the room, all of the appliances were aligned on the far wall, near the doorway to the adjacent dining room. At over 225 square feet, it did offer considerable space to work with, yet a large bulkhead-soffit filled with ductwork and plumbing, as well as, a narrow, reach-in wire shelving closet/pantry limited both the cabinet storage and the accessibility of cooking items. The original kitchen had a lot of open central floor space yet had disconnected workspaces, limited counter space to prepare foods, and was generally dysfunctional.
The new owners wished to create a kitchen that would not only serve as a space to efficiently prepare meals but also as a mini office area where the chef could have access to cookbooks and a desk for recipe writing. Additionally, it needed to be a welcoming, central part of the home where the family could expect to have many informal meals over the years. The chef desired to have more cabinet space while also adding newer, larger, and additional appliances to the footprint, such as a second oven. We worked with the customer to develop a creative design that accomplished all this needs and more.
The first order of business was to gut out all cabinetry, appliances, floor, and the bulkheads. A lot of ductwork and plumbing for second floor baths were hidden inside these spaces. We rerouted a major part of them and compact them in a way to enable the ceiling to be at full height creating a cleaner look and more space for taller cabinetry. We walled up a 2 foot by 2 foot portion of the previous pantry area that had awkwardly jutted out beyond the remaining rectangular footprint towards the hall closet. Although making the square footage of the room slightly smaller it actually opened up the room to permit a large, accessible floor to ceiling pantry cabinet. The gas line (to be used for the new 6-burner cooktop) and an extra water line (to be used for an added pot filler) was also relocated to this wall of the room.
The addition of a large (approximately 4 feet by 7 feet) center island increased both the form and function of the room. The turned-legs and glass-faced curio cabinets that greet you enter give a strong and stately statement. The island maximized efficiency and was equipped with cabinetry and accessories on every side (e.g., spice cabinet, microwave cabinet, double trash can holder), and would even include an overhang on the side by the windows to serve as a breakfast bar. The large island would be covered with an ogee-edged White Macauba granite giving a beautiful and expansive prep space.
On the far wall, an airy garden window replaced the flat metal-framed sink window. Below the window was added a large white farmsink. The dishwasher and doubleoven were installed to the right. To the left, the large 29 cubic foot French-doored, bottom freezer refrigerator.. We utilized a 6” wasted space to the left of the fridge for a 17 bottle floor to ceiling cubby wine rack, which also permitted the necessary distance for the French-doors to fully swing open.
A header was removed from the kitchen entrance to permit a more open feel, and just to the right of kitchen entrance there was still enough room to add a desk with drawers and upper cabinetry with book shelving and flanking glass cabinetry for china or glassware.
The selected maple cabinetry in Frost White with Pewter Glazing coupled with the island’s Espresso Black finished created great yin-yang contrast and balance to the room. The bright cabinetry, garden window, added recess lights, under cabinet lights, embedded lights under the mantle hearth, and inside cabinet lights with dimmer switches enable this room to be as bright as desired.
The Zen flare to this classic French Country kitchen is complete with the addition of the Sumatran Black standing pebble backsplash that we had never before used in a kitchen. These easy to clean stones add great texture and stunning contrast.
The clients are extremely satisfied with this new kitchen and now looking forward to get the rest of the house renovated.