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Glamorous Gray Showhouse Kitchen

A vintage home gets a new kitchen with satiny surfaces and unlacquered brass details that beg to be touched  

Written by Amy Elbert
  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Quartzite slabs with gentle waves of blue and iron-toned veining inspired the palette and hands-on qualities of the kitchen in the 2014 Atlanta Symphony Decorators’ Showhouse. “We fell in love with this quartzite,” says Matthew Quinn, whose Atlanta design firm renovated the 442-square-foot space. “Quartzite has this beautiful veining and movement that resembles marble, but it is much more durable than marble—and actually is more durable than granite,” he says.

    The stone was finished in a low-sheen leathered texture with an irresistible satin touch. “Whenever we do leathered quartzite countertops at a showhouse, 99 percent of the people who walk through the kitchen will touch the tops and ask what they are,” Quinn says. “It’s such a touchable surface, and I love that quality in a kitchen.” 

    Photography: Emily Jenkins Followill
    Produced by Lisa Mowry

    Kitchen designer: Matthew Quinn, Mary Kathryn Timoney, Laurie Lehrich, Kelly Carlisle, and Debbie Blumencrantz, Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio, 351 Peachtree Hills Ave. N.E., Suite 234, Atlanta, GA 30305; 404/261-0111,  
    Interior designer: Maria McLaurin, McLaurin Interiors, 4670 E. Forest Peak, Marietta, GA 30066; 770/977-0817,
    Fabric designer: Clay McLaurin, Clay McLaurin Studio, 480 John Wesley Dobbs Ave. N.E., Suite 816, Atlanta, GA 30312; 404/353-6302,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Blue-Gray Kitchen

    The veining in the stone inspired the muted cabinet colors. Perimeter cabinets were painted blue-gray; the island, which was built with rift-cut oak, was finished with a matching blue stain. Staining the island, rather than painting it, created a subtle texture variation in the cabinetry, Quinn says.

    The existing kitchen had an awkward layout and a lone support post at one end of the room, so the designers cleaned up the floor plan to create logical traffic patterns and work zones in the new 21x19-foot kitchen and adjacent 8x6-foot pantry.

    The support post was integrated into the new 9x5-foot island and was assigned a function. “We wanted to make sense of the column being there, so we attached the light fixture from the bracket,” Quinn explains. “The light is centered over the sink, and the column lines up with the center of the range and hood. All these subtle axis and center lines make the space feel comfortable to be in.”

    Symmetry was enhanced by placing the focal-point range and coordinating black-and-brass vent hood between two tall windows. The architecture of the 1920s house is highly decorative—“almost wedding cake-like,” Quinn says—and the curved lines of the hood reflect those elements.

    Behind the range, large blue-gray subway-style tiles cover the wall from countertop to ceiling. The tiles were made with a red rather than a white clay body, Quinn notes, adding warm-toned color variations. 

    Circa’s “Darlana” lantern is suspended from a metal bracket over the Rohl sink and faucet. Countertops are Cielo quartzite in a leathered finish. 

    Wall paint (“Pearl River” #871); ceiling paint (“Seashell” #926): Benjamin Moore,
    Cabinetry (“Firenze” door syle); finish on perimeter and pantry cabinets (custom painted finish with glaze); island finish (custom stain on rift cut oak with limewash); finish on coffee station (custom painted and glazed finish, walnut accents): Downsview Kitchens,
    Cabinetry hardware (collared pulls and T-knobs with round finial in antique brass finish): Matthew Quinn Collection,
    Range (“CornuFé 110”): La Cornue,, through Design Galleria,
    Range hood (custom, matte black and brass): Design Galleria,
    Tile backsplash (“Syzygy”/Snow White, decorative tile); flooring (“Diana Royal,” honed); countertops (“Leathered Cielo Quartzite”): Crossville Tile & Stone,
    Sink (single bowl/stainless steel #RSS3018); faucet (#A3606LMWS in English Bronze, Country Kitchen Collection): Rohl,
    Window treatment (“Weeping Willow”/Goldenrod): McLaurin Interiors,
    Rug runner: Moattar,
    Sconces over window (“Stratford”/Aged Brass #3301-AGB): Hudson Valley Lighting,
    Counter stools (“Elliott Counter Stools”/Gold finish, with brown leather seats): Holland & Co.,
    Chandelier over island (“Darlana”): Circa Lighting,, with custom metal arm by Calhoun Design & Metalworks,
    Refrigerator (Integrated #IT-36Ci); refrigerator drawers (Integrated #ID-30R): Sub-Zero,
    Warming drawer (Integrated #WWD30); microwave (24-inch Transitional Drawer Microwave); steam oven (24-inch E-Series Transitional Convection Steam Oven): Wolf,
    Dishwashers (Diamond series); coffee system (“24-Inch Built-In Nespresso Coffee Machine” #CVA 2662): Miele,
    Art above coffee system (by Christine Bray): Anne Irwin Fine Art,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Pantry Entrance

    Brass trim and cabinet hardware are not lacquered, so they will develop a patina over time. “I love being able to see where hands have touched door handles and hardware over the years,” Quinn says.

    The pantry door and the front of the refrigerator/freezer (left of the pantry) are integrated into the cabinets, creating the effect of an elegant paneled wall. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Coffee Station

    Walnut drawers below the Miele coffee machine organize spoons, tea, and sweeteners. Cups stand ready in the pantry to the left of the coffee machine. Another pantry to the right holds packaged coffee capsules for the coffeemaker. 

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Appliance Garage 

    Integrating appliances into the cabinets contributes to the room’s elegant non-kitchen look. 

    When not in use, the Wolf steam oven, a television, and dishes are concealed behind retractable pocket doors in a cabinet to the left of the refrigerator.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Utensil Storage

    The secret to a clutter-free kitchen is having storage in all the right places. Designer Matthew Quinn considers how families use a kitchen and then places pullout pantries, work spaces, and serving stations where they’re most convenient.

    Drop-in bins keep spoons, whisks, and other utensils handy. A pullout on the other side of the CornuFé range holds oils and seasonings.  

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Pet-Feeding Station 

    Even pets have stylish spaces with a quartzite feeding station in the island. 

    A quartzite slab is tucked in a niche under the island and fitted with drop-in bowls.

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Sunny Breakfast Room

    In the adjoining breakfast room, interior designer Maria McLaurin combined weathered antiques with nature-inspired upholstery and drapery fabrics designed by her nephew, Clay McLaurin. “Clay often begins his fabrics with watercolor drawings, which evolve into pattern designs,” McLaurin says. His painting above the settee, titled “Weeping Willow,” inspired the fabric used for draperies in the breakfast room and for Roman shades in the kitchen.

    The golden hues in the fabrics complement the brass finishes in the kitchen and serve to unify the spaces, Quinn notes, adding, “Overall, it’s a nice composition and combination of textures and colors.” 

    The golden palette was inspired by fabrics from Clay McLaurin Studio. The chandelier is from Ainsworth-Noah.

    Wall paint (“Pearl River” #871); ceiling paint (“Seashell” #926); trim paint (“Simply White” #2143-70): Benjamin Moore,
    Settee (custom design by McLauren Interiors): Bjork Studio,
    Settee fabric (“Rain”/Goldenrod); gold-patterned pillow (“Elena”/Goldenrod); blue-and-white pillow (“Medallion”/Robin’s Egg); art behind settee (Weeping Willow, watercolor, by Clay McLaurin): Clay McLaurin Studio,
    Sconces (“Agatha” ): Arteriors,
    Floor lamp (“Arbor Floor Light” #BSA121, Bill Sofield Collection); lamp on end table (“Anneau Table Lamp” #PG102W): Baker,
    Round end table (antique walnut pedestal table); dining table (antique walnut oval dining table): Robuck,
    Bird sculpture on end table: vintage.
    Chandelier (“Carousel” by McLain Wiesand): Ainsworth-Noah,
    Dinnerware (“Castle Garden” by Lenox, discontinued): Replacements,
    Chair fabric (“Elena”/Goldenrod): Clay McLaurin Studio,
    Console table (antique giltwood and gesso): Foxglove Antiques,
    Mirror over console (“New Wave Mirror” #1945, by Carol Canner): Carvers’ Guild,
    Vase on console: Waterford,

  • Emily Jenkins Followill

    Table for Tea

    The circa-1810 oval table is set for tea with Gorham silver, Lenox “Castle Garden” china, and Busatti linens.

    Click here to tour the other spaces in the 2014 Atlanta Symphony Showhouse.

    Dinnerware (“Castle Garden,” by Lenox, discontinued): Replacements,
    Flatware (King Edward,” by Gorham); napkins (by Busatti): designer’s collection.  

  • Emily Jenkins Followill