A utilitarian post in the middle of the kitchen stuck out like an 8-year-old dining in blue jeans at the Waldorf Astoria. The white-painted post divided the kitchen's work space and sitting area in the 2010 D.C. Design House, a magnificent Georgian home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Unfortunately, the post was integral to the house's structural support and had to stay. The solution was obvious to McLean, Virginia, interior designer Rosi Kallivokas. "I designed a dual purpose armoire to house the new refrigeration for the kitchen, and also to hide the support column," she says. The oak armoire with burl veneer marquetry and other inlays also established the dress code for the redesign, creating elegant spaces befitting the century-old mansion.
Rather than retaining the small kitchen and adjoining sitting room, Kallivokas commandeered all the square footage and created two companion kitchens, with the armoire serving as a subtle divider. A dressy, more formal area, anchored by an ornate oak island, makes an ideal spot for parties and company cocktails. The other, more casual space has a center table/island convenient for family dining and caterers. While the two spaces complement each other in style, each could function independently in a typical home, providing plenty of showhouse takeaway ideas.
Kallivokas mixed painted and natural finishes on the kitchen cabinets, trimming recessed oak-panel doors with burl veneers and cross-pattern marquetry.
"I wanted to keep everything light and clean and stay within my chosen color palette," she says. "The results are very fresh." Walls in both spaces are wainscoted and painted a warm white. A tone-on-tone large-scale floral wall covering--most prominently displayed above the wainscoting in the dressy kitchen--adds dining room elegance without being a distraction.
The real showstopper is a 37-inch flat-panel television installed behind heat-resistant glass in the range backsplash of the dressy kitchen. "If you're hooked on the Food Network, the TV is a perfect addition," Kallivokas says. The glass protects the television from splashes and heat, and is easy to wipe clean. If the television needs to be repaired or removed, it can be accessed from an adjoining porch, which shares a wall with the kitchen range.
Good lighting is a must in a kitchen, and Kallivokas "layered" light sources, including recessed ceiling fixtures and decorative chandeliers on dimmers. Low-voltage LED lights illuminate countertops as well as cabinet interiors.
Dove gray silk was fashioned into Roman shades and draperies, adding a hint of warmth. "I wanted to soften the rooms," the designer says, "but still allow natural light into the spaces at all times."
Photography: Gordon Beall
Produced by: Eileen A. Deymier
Design: Rosalia M. Kallivokas, Clive Christian of Washington, 1499 Chain Bridge Rd., Suite 104, McLean, VA 22101; 202/314-5700.