Kitchens à la Mode
Friends and family—even family pets—tend to congregate in the kitchen, so why not make it the most stylish space in your home? These three kitchens span the design spectrum from classic to country to contemporary. Choose your favorite style and get inspired.
Kitchen of the Year: Reclaimed Grandeur
Design Goal: In this mountain kitchen, the beauty is in the handcrafted details—one-of-a-kind touches that lend the room a pleasantly aged elegance.
The kitchen’s historical heft comes courtesy of reclaimed wood and salvaged materials, says Rich Carr, a principal at Cottle Carr Yaw Architects in Basalt. Carr worked with designer Lisa Staprans of Portola Valley, Calif., and Vancouver-based craftsman Michael Trayler to design custom cabinets using elm, maple and walnut salvaged from old barns. The cabinets resemble furniture pieces in various heights and styles, complete with intricate peg-work and custom-designed hardware.
“It’s meant to be very comfortable—a very functional kitchen, but also a family gathering place,” Carr says. So the design team created plenty of prep space as well as places to perch. They installed a soapstone island with a circular wooden chopping block; a bar island capped with white marble that doubles as a pastry station; and limestone floor tiles salvaged from a French chateau.
Defining detail: The entire home “takes timber-frame to a whole new level of craftsmanship,” Carr says. A careful attention to detail is evident in every element of the home’s construction—from the massive support beams, to the interior doors, right down to the kitchen cabinetry.
Why it works: This kitchen is a medley of materials, which, in the wrong hands, could have led to chaotic results. Instead, the room looks as if it were lovingly crafted over time, lending it substance and authenticity.
Because of the home’s “eclectic country aesthetic,” says Carr, the combination of different types of reclaimed wood works well together. “We thought the kitchen could handle the many wood tones,” he says. Staprans adds that the materials’ tonal values are all complementary: the dark walnut coordinates with the swirling knots and grains found in the lighter maple and elm; and the countertop’s celadon granite ties into the soft blue-green backsplash. “The key,” Staprans says, “is that there are some reference points in all of the materials that relate to each other.
Sugar and Spice
Design Goal: Some kitchen renovations aren’t complete overhauls; they’re the remodeler’s equivalent of cracking open a box of cake mix rather than baking a cake from scratch—but the results can be just as sweet. That’s what homeowner Holly Kuhn and her husband discovered when they decided to refresh their kitchen two years ago.
Built in 2000, the home is “like a big, old farmhouse,” says Kuhn, who owns Old Glory Antiques in Centennial, “and the kitchen is absolutely what sold me on the house.” But Kuhn, an unabashed fan of rich red tones, wanted to warm up the space and add a dash of modernity and eclecticism.
She and her husband preserved most of the existing red cabinets, as well as the concrete countertops. “I loved the countertops because they were different,” she says. “And the more worn they get, the more I love them.” To spice things up, they replaced one wall of cabinets with an old store counter, swapped the tile floor for alder wood to match the rest of the home and removed the embossed-tin backsplash in favor of classic white subway tile. They also enhanced the recessed lighting scheme with industrial-style pendant lamps over the bar.
Defining Detail: “The cabinets define the room—the red color, because there’s just so much of it,” Kuhn says. They complement the furnishings in the adjoining living spaces and provide the perfect backdrop for Kuhn’s ever-changing collection of antiques—many of which are, of course, red.
Why It Works: Those antiques, coupled with the personal touches the homeowners added, give the kitchen character and make it feel less utilitarian, Kuhn says, while the subway tile, pendant lamps and concrete countertops propel the room into the 21st century. “It’s just my favorite room,” she says.
A Contemporary Classic
Design Goal: Tucked neatly into a 1930s home, this kitchen is a balance of history and modernity, a true updated classic. “There are things that feel very fresh and modern, and current to today,” says Kristi Dinner, founder of Denver-based design firm company kd llc, but they’re mixed with design touches that give a nod to the home’s past.
The goal for this kitchen redesign was to maximize storage and create a more usable space in which the family could cook and entertain while also preserving the home’s historic charm. Working alongside architect Steve Barsch and cabinet-maker Martin Shea, both of Denver, Dinner installed oak cabinets—a period material—with the grain running horizontally to give it a modern twist, and frosted glass (a contemporary choice) with an inch-wide clear reveal inspired by the home’s original windows. The team also designed an island with the right balance of ample prep space and square-footage-saving sleekness.
Defining Detail: “Where we added the interest was in the mix of textures,” Dinner says, which the design team mixed with subtle patterns. They installed oval-embossed ceramic tiles from Ann Sacks to add tactile dimension to the room. “And we stumbled upon this granite that really looked like a seabed,” she says, due to its swirls of brown and mossy green.
Why It Works: The room is modern and rectangular, but its hard angles are softened by the flowing, organic shapes in the granite and wood, the oval-patterned tile and egg-shaped pendant lamps. The color palette pairs golden oak with cool gray tones of stainless steel. Cabinets run all the way to the ceiling but sit a few inches above the floor so that they don’t look too heavy. “It was quite the balancing act,” Dinner say.
Design Details: Kristi Dinner, company kd, llc, Denver, companykd.com
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