Transitional Rustic Kitchen
When the homeowners of this classic American home wanted to create an even flow between the kitchen and adjacent family room, designer Richard T. Anuszkiewicz relied on a multi-colored rustic design to create a transitional kitchen and living area.
What were the main items on the family’s wish list?
The trick here was that the rooms were already open to one another. I realized that it was the way their old kitchen was laid out that made it feel disconnected from the adjacent family room. The old kitchen had an angled peninsula that jutted out into the family room. This peninsula established awkward furniture placement in the family room, as well as an unfortunate barrier between the two rooms. It was the first thing that had to go in the new plan.
The client also desired the ability to work as a couple in the new space. This meant the new layout needed to have defined function areas. They often have small informal dinner parties with another couple, so conversational seating for four was something I needed to keep in mind as well. Then their overall challenging wish was to make their current house feel like a new home.
First and foremost, we needed a drastic change in the space in order for it to feel like a new home, so we removed the wall between the kitchen and underutilized formal dining room. This gave us new square footage to establish the work areas necessary for multiple people to function in the space simultaneously. I took the main exterior wall in this new space and made it completely symmetrical, with two identical widows placed to the right and left hand side of the new decorative hood.
Under these windows you will find the primary sink on the right for clean up and the secondary sink on the left for food preparation. With the secondary sink you will find integrated Subzero refrigeration drawers for quick access to fresh foods.
We addressed the issue of room division by creating an island instead of the interjecting peninsula. This established new traffic patterns in the space, making the kitchen and family rooms work better together. The primary island is the social gathering space and it provides round seating for up to four people.
The oven and microwave were placed on the back wall of the room in 60-inch high cabinetry. This height is more ergonomically friendly for users and in this space the height showcased the beautiful transom window above that was hidden in the old dinning space. At the ovens we created a baking center with a secondary island. To the right of the ovens we established a bar area for guest beverages and entertainment glassware. The final wall holds the full-sized integrated refrigeration with custom pantries on either side and a decorative glass hutch with bonnet top that showcases the client’s collectables from their years of living in Asia.
What was the single largest challenge you wanted to address for this client?
The single largest issue I wanted to address in the space was the textured low-ceilings throughout the home. The clients overall challenge was to make the home feel new. The texture on the ceiling was a distinct sign that the space was dated.
The texture was also a ‘blinking light’ drawing attention to fact that the home had low-height ceilings. The heavy texture combined with the bulky ceiling lighting all added up to an old feeling space. More specifically I wanted to address this issue because the clients overall had a tall family, with one homeowner standing at 6 feet, 5 inches. High ceilings add to a home’s value. We created an illusion of taller ceilings by first removing the texture throughout the home. This was accomplished by removing the entire old ceiling and hanging new dry wall. We then installed a new recessed can plan making the space brighter and new non-intrusive decorative lighting that felt light and airy. Our final trick to fool the eye was to take the wall cabinetry to the ceiling. By taking the cabinetry to the ceiling it makes a room feel taller and brings your eye up.
What was your biggest obstacle in this space?
The largest obstacle on this project was once we removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room, it created a long and narrow space. The size of the new room was 11’ x 24’. I knew I wanted to create an island in the space for a new traffic pattern, but it was challenging because as soon as you add cabinetry on the walls and allot for the proper walk-ways, it doesn’t leave much room for a large island. I wanted to keep away from the room getting a ‘tunnel effect’. We avoided this by playing with dimensions all through the space. You will notice height, depth and width variation in the cabinetry to add visual interest. We also mixed materials to break up the space. The home owner tended to warm tones but I proposed white painted wall cabinets with glass detail to keep the space feeling bright and open. We brought in the warm tones in all other aspects of the room.
From the wall accent paint to the backsplash to the multiple counter surfaces, these other elements pull in the warm tones the client desired. With the mix of materials and dimensions, it helps diminish the long and narrow feel in the room.
How does the end result match up with your original vision for the space?
The overall floor plan was executed exactly as intended. The color palette however was something that evolved over time. I originally saw an overall white color scheme for the space. I really wanted to showcase the blue and white china pieces that the clients collected while living in Asia and for those pieces to take on the persona of the kitchen. The clients conversely wanted warmth in the space and felt like the white cabinetry would feel too cold. This led us to the thought to combine materials and colors. I think it worked out well because it ended up breaking up the space and adding more visual detail than originally anticipated.
What surprised you the most about the project?
What surprised me the most about this project was time consumption and technical work behind integrating the Subzero refrigeration unit with the custom pantries. I really enjoy working with integrated refrigeration because from a design perspective, you have limitless opportunity to create something special. For this project we worked with inset style doors on the white cabinets. It was very important to me that all of the stiles and rails on the doors of the pantries perfectly lined up with the panel doors of the Subzero refrigerator. Knowing that that the exposed stiles and rails are the unique feature of inset cabinetry, this was even more important. It took a lot of time, measurements, paperwork and revisions to get the look just right. We then finished off the bottom of the unit with a custom valance to give the refrigerator a great furniture look. This was great experience for me because I now have the practice and knowledge to accomplish this look again in the future.
What are the hidden gems in your plan?
Some fine details we included in this space are the curves that we subtlety introduced. The first curve you will notice is in the round wood top. The second curve you will notice is in the bonnet hutch top. The third curve you will notice is in the beautiful two-toned wood range hood. The final curves are in the
Arabesque-shaped tile behind the cook top. The cherry-wood tabletop is a gem in itself. It sits on a pedestal and is notched and integrated into the adjoining island and it comfortably seats three. When the client needs to seat a fourth guest, they have a table leaf that fits over the granite and locks into the top.