Made for Living

A family kitchen receives an overhaul with bold color and a hefty dose of bells and whistles

The outdated kitchen of this Georgian-style home wasn’t part of the homeowners’ initial renovation plan when working with interior designer James Wheeler. “We were actually saving it for round two,” he says. “But one day the wife went to open the oven door and it fell off, making the need pretty immediate.”

The homeowners were more than happy to bid farewell to the kitchen’s builder-grade cabinetry and worn-out appliances in favor of something that was better equipped to serve their busy family, as well as their shared passion for cooking. Kitchen designer Lisa Brooks was enlisted to modify the layout, which she accomplished by creating expanded pantry and refrigeration columns and relocating the “cooking zone” with a new commercial range, directly opposite of the sink wall for symmetry and increased functionality. A pot filler adds a layer of convenience to the family’s beloved pasta nights.

While the home’s Georgian flourishes inspired enduring elements (its honed pewter hood, for example), Wheeler was equally compelled to capture the fun yet sophisticated spirit of the young couple by opting for moody blue-gray cabinets that feel unexpectedly fresh. To balance the dark, saturated color (Farrow & Ball’s “Black Blue”), Wheeler sourced slabs of white dolomite marble for the counters and full-height backsplash. The latter was at the request of the wife, who “didn’t ever want to scrub spaghetti sauce out of grout again,” jokes Wheeler.

Designing down to the smallest of details, he suggested walnut inserts behind often-visible features, such as the glass and morning bar cabinetry, to mimic the richness of the dark hardwood floors. Brass hardware and accents also add warmth to the space.

When it’s time for meals—or homework—the family now piles into the cozy breakfast nook, where velvet and linen textures help soften the kitchen’s harder surfaces.

“They love to cook, celebrate, enjoy each other’s company and the kitchen now really encompasses all of that,” says Wheeler.

INTERIOR DESIGN J. Wheeler Designs, KITCHEN DESIGN LB Designs, BUILDER Horner Homes, CABINETRY Cabico Custom Cabinetry, HARDWARE Top Knobs,

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