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Kitchen of the Week: Crisp Contemporary

Ordinarily, I'm drawn to kitchens that are either on the traditional end of the spectrum, or on the ultra-modern end.  I love the cabinetry detailing and craftsmanship that is so evident in traditional applications, and I also love a modern kitchen because it takes a delicate balance of line, scale and proportion to "get it right".  The middle of the road is where I struggle to find spaces that appeal to me--I'll call them "contemporary" kitchens.  The main reason is that often, contemporary kitchens look like a mash of every trendy material and finish currently out there, thrown into a space with the hope that because these things are "in", the space will look well designed.  When I stumbled on this award-winning kitchen, however, I was blown away with how well current materials have been used to create a space that is beautifully appointed, unique, and perfect for this home:

This space, designed by Lucy Penfield of Lucy Interior Design recently won Best in Show at the 2011 ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) awards banquet.  I think that the combination of elements, the application of current trends, as well as the careful attention to maintaining the home's integrity worked to create a gorgeous space with a ton of visual interest.  Here's my take on how this talented designer made everything really come together.

1  Neutral "grayish" palate
The "weathered look" with grayed-down wood tones and tactile texture is hot right now.  While this look often lends itself to vintage, antique or eclectic interiors, this kitchen is the perfect modern reinterpretation of the trend.  The smooth, flat-paneled wood cabinetry has ribbons of gray running through it, but is kept warm through complimentary beige tones in the wood.  Having the grain run horizontal on all of the cabinet fronts and doors adds to the contemporary feel, and maintaining a similar wood tone on the ceiling and floor creates continuity and flow in the space.

2  Extra thick countertops & waterfall edge detail
Increasing the thickness of a countertop is a great way to compliment the length and scale of a large island.  Typical stone and quartz composite countertops are 1 1/4" (3cm) thick.  For what's referred to as a "built up mitred edge", fabricators will mitre the top edge of the stone, and then add an additional mitred piece, anywhere from 2" to 6" to give the countertop its thicker look.  When done well, it will appear that the top is one thick solid piece of stone.  Wrapping the edge of the cabinetry and having this countertop run down to the floor adds additional mass, and the color chosen in this kitchen adds contrast, definition and prominence to the large island.

3  Mosaic tile backsplash
Glass mosaic tile seems to be available everywhere these days, and has lost a bit of its uniqueness because of it.  In this application, however, I love how the designer has been intentional about the tile's placement, choosing to highlight and transform an entire wall and bring another textural element to the space.  The contemporary nature of the tile lends itself to the design of the rest of the kitchen, making it "classic" within the space rather than a passing trend.

4 A kitchen that doesn't scream "I'm a Kitchen"
In my opinion, this is perhaps the most successful part of the design--this space blends amazingly with the rest of the interior, but also takes into account what's going on outside.  Its been designed to have unobstructed views in both directions, and because of this, some of the typical "kitchen" elements have been left out (in a good way).  Wall cabinetry is no where to be seen, which allows a large window to dominate one wall and bring light in.  Storage space is neatly designed into one of the corners, and the unavoidably tall appliances like the wall oven and refrigerator are placed at either end of the kitchen's perimeter.  With two large islands, there is certainly enough storage space, and keeping everything low creates an open, airy feel.  Even the presence of the cooktop is minimized, placed discreetly along the window wall with downdraft ventilation instead of a large hood structure.  Overall, this kitchen has the look of a true "living space" and is highly functional as well as extremely inviting.

I also have to say that I'm in love with the fixtures and furnishings in this space, and those counter stools were what drew me in to the space in the first place.  Along with those fabulous light fixtures, they add a playful, modern element.  With seating for six, gorgeous views in every direction, and an interior this beautiful, who wouldn't want to spend every sunny summer day at this lakeside retreat?  Count me in!


Anonymous said...

Very pretty!

Holly Gruszka said...

I was wondering why there were so many high hats initially but then I realized, my goodness, because there are essentially two islands to actually sit and eat and then one for prep. Holy huge! I really really love the countertops - what type of material do you think that is? It almost looks like cement but I really love it.