Clever, beautiful details add a personal touch to kitchens and allow homeowners to create a space that exactly fits their needs. These projects show how designers went the extra mile to find creative solutions for seating, cooking alcoves, and backsplashes.
Down and Out of the Way
The owner of this Atlanta farmhouse wanted a kitchen remodel that worked for her daily needs as well as for entertaining guests. Amanda Johnson of Small Carpenters at Large, in Atlanta, designed a fold up/down table on the non-working side of an island. “[The client] wanted an eat-in kitchen, but we didn't want to sacrifice space to make it officially eat-in,” Johnson says. “We had to fit a lot into a small space.”
The half-circle shape helps maintain comfortable traffic flow around the table when it's raised.
Johnson turned to her custom cabinetmaker Lockwood Custom Furniture, which also crafted the charcoal-stained maple island and surrounding white cabinets. The cabinetmaker crafted a tabletop that, when open, is held up with two cast iron brackets and, when closed, is disguised by a cap that covers the hinge.
Double Down The entry and kitchen to this Washington, D.C., row house is on the lower level with a formal living room on the upper floor. The family felt that the living area was too far from the kitchen for their growing family. They charged architect Bruce Wentworth, of Wentworth Studio, in Chevy Chase, Md., with the task of creating a family area in the 13-by-30-foot space. Wentworth removed the hallway wall to open up the space and fitted the kitchen with an island. To give the family a seating area, he attached a built-in table to the island. “The high island and lower table act as a sculptural element,” Wentworth says. “We used plastic laminate so it was durable and inexpensive and provided aesthetic contrast to the honed black granite on the island.”
Now You're Cooking This remodel of an outdated kitchen was driven by an amateur chef who wanted to indulge his love of cooking with family and friends. The homeowner requested a Wolf range and a large island prep area. Cathy Gaspar and Nicole Truesdell of Gaspar's Construction, in Seattle, collaborated on the design.
“Architecturally, [the alcove] is on axis with the living room, so it is the focal point when you look into the kitchen,” Truesdell says. “This alcove is a functional space with supplies for cooking needs, but it is also beautiful and a place that your eye goes to when you look at the kitchen.”
The designers turned to a custom cabinet company to craft the maple cabinets and the arched rangehood cover. “Each hood comes with a recommended height and we also have our own standard, so we used a combination,” Gaspar says. “You need to have good coordination between the hood and cabinet companies; we had the hood sent to the cabinetmaker. It's important to pre-order and be on top of your game to have it all come together as you want it to.”
Freshly Framed The owners of this 1980s house in Austin, Texas, had spent time in England and wanted to incorporate the formal English furniture style into their kitchen remodel. Stewart Davis, design director with CG&S Design-Build, in Austin, studied the English look and specified off-white cabinetry with traditional elements such as plate racks and open shelving. “It was not a literal translation but a 21st-century version,” Davis says.
To give visual weight to the frame around the cooking niche, Davis designed a 3-inch thick mantel. “That thickness makes all the difference,” he says. “It looks structural.” He also had to conceal the vent hood behind the mantel. “It had to be invisible yet functional and low enough for the homeowners to reach the controls,” he says. There is 24 inches of counterspace for preparation on either side of the 36-inch cooktop.