Text by: Tiffany Carboni
The difference between a beautiful collection and ‘a bunch of stuff’ is a matter of how the items are presented. Getting that presentation right takes careful planning and execution.
Luckily for her clients, Jo Rabaut had already mastered the two when she was hired to design a home in Atlanta, GA from the ground up. “They wanted yesterday’s character tailored for modern living and function with the ability to showcase all their collectibles in a manageable way that didn’t feel cluttered,” she explains.
Rabaut designed the period-inspired kitchen’s layout first by measuring and photographing every piece of the couple’s prized Stoneware, Majolica, Staffordshire and Transferware ceramic collections to determine their precise configurations. The clean lines of the KennebecCompany cabinetry that abut the walls were painted in vanilla and topped with classic honed black slate and a cream subway tiled backsplash to create a simple backdrop. A ledge running atop the wall cabinets displays many of the clients’ sponge and splatterware.
Given that the kitchen is on axis with the family room, the stovetop sits directly opposite of the fireplace. Rabaut’s clients didn’t want the range hood to be a visual distraction while they were relaxing in the other room. To minimize the hood’s appearance Rabaut made it into a display box for the couple’s antique iron dog.
The shelving dedicated to the ‘Hens on Nest’ arrangement uses a swath of boisterous red that pulls together the room’s other red components including the hutch, stools, and valance. On the other side of the case is another similar arrangement that can be seen from the adjacent butler’s pantry. “By double-siding the case with shallow shelves we were able to include even more exhibits,” she notes. “The cabinets below are also accessible from either side.”
The island was stained in a mahogany finish and topped with traditional Cararra marble that is matched by the backsplash behind the range. “It’s not uncommon for people to be intimidated by marble. They think it’s going to be porous or stain,” Rabaut offers. “I love using it because it is the oldest known countertop used by bakers. There’s a good reason it’s been around forever; it’s the best.”
Metal lighting pendants from Scofield Historical Lighting were chosen to tie in the darker elements of the room while the chandelier, also from Scofield, was used to anchor the couple’s antique colonial dining table. Additionally, Rabaut included down lights and under-counter lighting for functionality and to project an appropriate mood.
In this kitchen, the homeowners’ mood is a happy one, thanks to Rabaut’s ability to surround them with their beloved treasures in a carefully orchestrated, artistic fashion.