Written by: Tiffany Carboni
Kitchen designers are used to listening to their clients’ wish lists to formulate a space that’s reflective of the homeowners’ needs and tastes. A spec house, however, is a different story. Not only does the designer have to create a kitchen that’s attractive and functional, he or she has to do so for a nonexistent customer.
“I started this new construction project by envisioning the kitchen for a Southern home chef who really wants to live and entertain beautifully,” says project designer Paige Schnell of Tracery Interiors.
Working hand-in-hand with the firm of Christopher Architects, Schnell crafted a restaurant-inspired kitchen for this inspiration home that’s open and inviting to its guests. This was of particular importance since the room isn’t connected to the other living spaces.
The team started with English inset cabinetry built by the project’s contractor, Charles Kessler, Schnell chose Nantucket Gray from Benjamin Moore to draw out the dark tones of the Calacatta marble countertops and backsplash tiles. “We took the marble all the way to the ceiling to make the room easy to keep clean just like a restaurant,” she explains. “Plus the striations of the marble offer a rich texture that painted walls can’t.”
Open stainless steel shelving surrounding the perimeter prep areas and 48” Wolf range offers easy accessibility to tools and tableware.
The prep island doubles as a table where chef and guests can engage. The reclaimed pine tabletop over painted planks gives the island its own identity that’s further enhanced with brushed steel stools from Target and nickel pendants by Sandy Chapman from Visual Comfort.
In order to maximize space, the team decided to forgo an island sink relying instead on the single Whitehaven farmhouse apron sink from Kohler that’s matched with a Kohler pullout spray faucet from Ferguson.
Schnell carried the pine theme of the island over from the ceiling’s one-by-four pine planks that are custom colored in a paint wash. “We wanted the ceiling to offer an elegant, but subtle statement,” she says.
The same goes for the flooring, which is made up of concrete pavers handcrafted by Peacock Pavers. “The floors had to match the kitchen’s tasteful qualities while being sturdy enough to withstand the traffic that leads in and out of the pool passageway,” offers Schnell.
This passageway also serves as a butler’s pantry with matching built-in cabinetry. The frames of the pantry’s glass doors, like the windows, are painted black to add a pop of contrast.
Despite, the team’s challenges of designing to a fictional client, Schnell is pleased to report their finished product spoke loud and clear to the home’s happy new owner.