A Striking Makeover
When a kitchen didn’t work or feel right, designer David Annand helped the homeowners make a dramatic transformation.
A combination of subtle textures, colors and angles create this relaxed yet refined kitchen. It’s a wonderful place to cook for a houseful of family and friends. And, most importantly, the homeowner notes, “Cleaning up is really easy.”
This sophisticated black and and white, taupe and cream kitchen in Nashua combines comfort and great functionality. The light is plentiful, bright and crisp, and the room’s many lines, angles and shapes are balanced and dynamic.
But getting to this point wasn’t without challenges. The home is built from brick, so it couldn’t be expanded easily. Things didn’t line up in the kitchen and the room just didn’t feel right. What could be done and where was the right place to start?
Assembling the team
Designer David Annand, of Expert Design Solutions in Nashua, chuckles when asked these questions. This, he says, was a wonderful project. “The homeowners were great and ready to explore design options,” Annand says. “Plus, the builder, Richard Guay of Nashua, and his team were perfectionists and did everything in a timely way.”
Annand begins each project methodically. “When I work with clients, I sit down and talk about what they like and don’t like about their space,” he says. “In this case, the homeowners wanted a more modern feel and liked neutral colors.”
Let the problem-solving begin
The team was able to quickly identify the most problematic issue at hand: The whole room felt out of kilter.
First, the big window by the sink was not centered even though the wall cabinets were all the same size. The ceiling needed repair. The hood over the stove didn’t line up with the three A-dormer windows above it, nor did the lights. A big, diagonal island in the middle of the kitchen created very narrow pathways that funneled toward the stove. The husband who does most of the cooking is a tall man, and he found these narrow pathways annoying.
Throughout, details—such as this farmhouse sink—add up to a big impact.
In addition, the homeowners thought the kitchen was dated and worn (for example, the maple cabinets had yellowed).
Not only was the kitchen problematic, but the family room was, too. One lone Arts and Crafts-style column and a sofa separated the kitchen from the family room. That column provided critical support, so it wasn’t going away. Plus, the family room shares a wall with the master bedroom. With a full house of exuberant youngsters, it can get pretty loud.
“This is the ‘party’ house where everyone gathers,” Annand says. “The homeowners’ kids have grown up and now have children of their own. Everyone comes over for major holidays and celebrations. The homeowners also love to entertain.”
Addressing the kitchen
“To pull the kitchen together, we moved the big window over two feet and centered it on the room,” Annand says.
“That was very exciting,” Guay says. “It made a huge difference to the whole room.”
For the new sixty-inch Wolf stove, Annand commissioned Raw Urth Designs in Colorado to fabricate a custom metal hood with a rustic iron finish to match the new dramatic, charcoal-gray cabinets. “The vaulted ceiling really brings in a lot of light,” the homeowner says. “So we knew it would work, especially if we went with a light countertop choice.”
“We fixed the ceiling and centered each of the three chandeliers on a dormer window,” Guay says. “The casing trim on the dormers looked offcenter, so we adjusted that and then centered the hood under the middle window.”
Nearby is a forty-eight-inch Sub-Zero refrigerator. On the window wall, the Rohl farmer’s sink is made from white fireclay. All the light-colored countertops are Wicked White quartzite with a double-profile edge on the island.
Soft neutral tones inside make the outside scenery sparkle. Generous amounts of light allow the kitchen’s dramatic, charcoal-stained cabinetry to anchor the room.
For contrast on the kitchen’s island, Annand added a simple dark granite countertop with a “leathered,” non-glossy finish. The irregular shape of the island opens up room around the work areas.
The homeowners also chose a steam wall oven, speed/microwave wall oven, coffee station and dishwasher, all made by Miele.
Transparent charcoal stain on the cabinetry showcases its wood grain. For the flooring, twofoot- square, porcelain tiles are laid on the diagonal to give a clean, unfussy look. The diagonal layout connects the kitchen and family room. These tiles are also rugged and easy to clean. They continue into the dining room as well.
As for the lighting, three chandeliers each have six, daylight white, 6000K LED bulbs. More LEDs provide under-cabinet, task lighting and cove light-ing above the cabinets for ambient ceiling light.
Carrera marble tiles in a basket-weave pattern serve as a backsplash and wall treatment. The look is both textured and tidy, and defines the room’s parameters. Walls painted in soft, warm gray pull the kitchen and family room together.
A collaboration between HVAC contractors and Guay allowed the kitchen’s temperatures to be at comfortable levels at any season. Guay also installed beautiful cast iron Reggio registers to give the house a more polished look.
“Cooking is so easy in this kitchen,” the homeowner says. “Our original kitchen didn’t have a prep sink or this kind of generous counter space. I enjoy making French toast and pancakes for everyone. It’s just a pleasure. Cleaning up is really easy, and I love it when full sun brings out all the subtle colors in the room.”
Designer David Annand created an axis extending from the family room’s fireplace to the kitchen. This bold diagonal repeats in the floor tiles as well.
Addressing the family room
“We changed the look and added another decorative column,” Annand says. “This matched the feel of the double columns in the home’s foyer. It gives the house consistency.”
Under the columns, to separate the two rooms, he created a “backer” for the sofa. The small, half-wall has a black leathered granite top, which matches the island counter. Annand replaced an accent table by the stairs with a small bar that includes a wine cooler. Glasses are stored in the angled cabinets on either end of the bar.
With new cabinetry, plenty of recessed lighting, and a refurbished stone fireplace, the new eighty-inch television means movie nights really captivate the audience. As for the noise factor, Annand had Acoustiblok installed. This thin, recyclable material provides a barrier to block noise.
The end result
The team’s careful work in the kitchen and family room carried into the pantry, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and mudroom. “Coming into this home now, you can’t tell that we changed all those rooms,” Annand says. “The house is gorgeous and has a harmonious look throughout.”
Behind that state-of-theart entertainment wall is a very quiet master bedroom, thanks to Acoustiblok, a thin, recyclable material that blocks sound. (Party on!)
The custom metal hood, fabricated by Raw Urth Designs in Colorado, accommodates the sixty-inch stove. Its rustic iron finish complements both the cabinetry and
the hand-carved-tile wall feature.