Room for Two: Alder cabinets, honed granite countertops, and a tumbled marble backsplash give this kitchen a rustic feel.
Credit: Dennis Jourdan • Dennis Jourdan Photography Room for Two: Alder cabinets, honed granite countertops, and a tumbled marble backsplash give this kitchen a rustic feel.

The homeowners of this 1920s house had been planning a kitchen remodel for a long time. They went so far as to work on a design that would enclose the porch to expand the space, then got cold feet during the market downturn, and, worrying about the return on investment for an addition, put the project on hold.

By the time designer Diane Lawson, of Diane Lawson Designs, in Nashville, Tenn., met the couple, they had revisited the project but had opted to stay within the existing footprint. However, they presented her with a long list of desires that included: good traffic flow for two cooks; separate cooking areas; an island; increased storage; and a rustic Italian design and details that would blend with the home’s Italianate style.

Though most homeowners today want to open up the kitchen to the rest of the house, Lawson says this couple bucked the trend, choosing to maintain the separation from the living and dining rooms.

Fitting in the long list of the client’s wants required some compromise, including a peninsula rather than an island, but Lawson viewed the project as putting a puzzle together to set all the pieces neatly into the outline.