Two spaces complement each other in style in this showhouse kitchen
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.
10 bright showhouse ideas to perk up a kitchen
1. Install dimmers on light fixtures
The David Iatesta "Turin Chandelier" and the recessed ceiling fixtures are dimmable, so they can be adjusted to suit task needs and desired dining ambience.
2. Create an art gallery
Black-and-white tulip drawings framed in hand-carved gilded frames dress up the kitchen and make the room feel appropriate for entertaining.
3. Add plush and practical seating
Counter seating gets classy with Clive Christian oak stools that have black velvet cushions. Choose indoor-outdoor fabrics (available in countless styles), and cleanup is a snap.
4. Build the TV into a wall, so it is visible throughout the kitchen
A flat-panel Aquos television was mounted behind heat-resistant glass in the tile backsplash above the range. The TV can be accessed for servicing from an adjacent porch that backs the range wall.
5. Simplify food prep and cleanup with a pullout faucet
A stainless-steel undermount sink in the island is fitted with a Rohl pullout faucet. The faucet's multiple spray options and pullout capabilities make it easy to wash foods as well as large pots and pans.
6. Beef up countertops with thick double-edge treatments
The island has a thick slab top of Arctic Cream granite finished with double-rolled edges. Two oak corbels with burl inlays support each of the four corners.
7. Keep spices, recipes, bottle toppers, and what-nots in small drawers
These hidden drawers protect spices--or whatever is stored there--from the heat of cooking and can be labeled so you won't forget what's where.
8. Mix cabinet colors, finishes, and counter depths for furniture look
The Clive Christian oak sink cabinet in the casual kitchen area is slightly deeper than adjacent painted cabinets and looks like a freestanding furniture piece. A beadboard backsplash above the counters plays to the relaxed farmhouse style.
9. Park a large table in the center of the kitchen for a portable island
An island can be as simple as a substantial table topped with granite or other hard surface. Pull up stools for family meals.
10. Integrate a basic blackboard into a paneled wall
Improve family communications with a blackboard built into a kitchen wall. Place pet food bowls directly below, and no one should forget to feed the dog (we hope!).
More details from the D.C. Design House kitchen:
An armoire with a natural-oak finish and corbel-topped pilasters conceals a structural column and two side-by-side Liebherr refrigerator-freezers. The armoire also serves as a room divider.
A farm-style sink cabinet is topped with an oak work surface, which is routed with grooves to drain water to the Franke fire-clay sink. A bridge-style Rohl faucet adds to the farmhouse style.
The Clive Christian island upgrades basic oak with classic furniture-style details, such as burl veneers on the corbels, along with X-motif marquetry and flame-style inlays on the end panels.
Gold & Glam
Chandeliers from David Iatesta hang in both kitchen spaces. Gold-painted pendants and delicate crystal balls dangle from the metal arms, reflecting light and adding a bit of glamour.