A Study in Contrast

A stunning black and white kitchen by designer of the moment Matthew Quinn takes a traditional, Georgian-style Buckhead home in a more modern direction

Matthew Quinn is having a moment. Known for his elegant eponymous collection, the multitalented kitchen designer recently celebrated announcing the upcoming opening of a Design Galleria Kitchen and Bath Studio showroom in Nashville’s new 45,000-square-foot design studio and released Quintessential Kitchens and Spaces Volume II, a roundup of some of his most notable projects. Featured in its pages is a stunning kitchen, office and butler’s pantry that Quinn designed for a longtime client in Buckhead—their fourth collaboration. 

Renovated by architect Norman D. Askins, the client’s brick Georgian abode leans traditional—for example, the front foyer’s black-and-white marble floor—yet the kitchen’s steel-framed floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the backyard speaks in a more modern dialect. Inspired by the mix, Quinn pushed his client to think differently. “My client had always done cherry kitchens with black countertops,” Quinn says. “I wanted to break the mold.”

It didn’t take the wife long to get on board. When Quinn unveiled his rendering depicting the black ceiling and painted center island, she “screamed with excitement,” he recalls. The black elements are juxtaposed by bleached cherry cabinetry and quartzite countertops. “It has that yin and yang that relates really well to the rest of the house,” Quinn says.

In between the cabinets, a custom gunmetal steel hood with stainless steel detailing and brass rivets creates a striking focal point that complements the mix of metals used throughout, including nickel hardware and a pair of overscale bronze lanterns above the island. “I love mixing metals,” Quinn says. “It feels more traditional and not so matchy.”

Designed with corner seating so that the owners can see eye to eye, the center island features cooking and baking zones, each within arm’s reach of well-stocked drawers for the task at hand. And counter-height shelving holds her 50 favorite cookbooks. “She was as organized and scientific as we are,” Quinn says.

The owners recently hosted their first Thanksgiving in the newly redesigned space, and four people easily prepared the feast without getting in each other’s way, demonstrating that it’s possible for a kitchen to be both stunning and highly functional. “It was worth all the effort that we put into it,” Quinn says. “It could not have worked out any better, and she’s so happy with the result.”