THE CLIENTS:  A couple whose kitchen no longer worked for their family of 4 teenage children. Their style was warm and traditional. The existing kitchen’s small island was dominated by a cooktop leaving little room for food prep. They wanted a larger island for family cooking. The cabinets and fittings in the existing kitchen had been provided by the builder. The wife, who has an eye for design, wanted to update the materials to compliment the decorating she was planning for the adjacent family room.


  • Revise the kitchen layout to maximize counter space and convenience for the large family.
  • Utilize the island for family food prep and casual dining.
  • Maximize storage wherever possible.
  • Use materials that would compliment the home’s open floor plan
  • Retain the display shelf that ran across the top of the cabinets and provide additional display space for family photos and treasures.


  • The kitchen’s sloped ceiling stopped at the family room. To enlarge the island while honoring this architectural detail, we extended it to where the sloped ceiling ends. Then a slightly taller custom cabinet with furniture detailing was added to face into the family room. This curved piece not only makes a stunning transition but its taller height helps to block the view of the kitchen’s prep area.
  • Cooking was moved from the island to the perimeter wall.  Switching to a 6 burner range provided counter space where the old built-in oven was.
  • 3 cabinet finishes were used. The perimeter cabinets are painted white with a soft brown highlight, the island, dry bar and hutch are Cherry stained to match the home’s wood trim and the accent piece on island is black with a rubbed, distressed finish. The kitchen counters are of warmly patterned granite. Both the dark leathered granite tops on the bar and hutch and the kitchen’s dark quartz sinks were chosen to provide contrast. The mosaic tile inlay above the range adds interest while tying in the family room colors.
  • The hutch was designed specifically to house the many photos of the family and their friends. Grouping them adds drama and keeps other surface clear for kitchen tasks. The dry bar includes refrigerator drawers used for the teen’s beverages and lighted glass-doored wall cabinets showcasing some special pieces.
  • A walk-in Pantry was designed to provide the food storage required for this large family. Other convenience features are an appliance garage with a bifold door and knee drawers above the island’s stools to hold the children’s odds and ends.

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