Text by: Tiffany Carboni
Decatur, GA is a progressive in-town community thanks to the nearby colleges and hospitals that draw in a diverse crowd from all over the country. “The norm here is to be open to differences in design,” explains architect Ili Nilsson, co-founder of TerraCotta Properties. “Decatur is not as traditional as people typically think most Southern cities are.”
With that, Nilsson and founding partner Luly Melarti were perfectly comfortable when their hip video producer and photographer clients from Brooklyn asked them to create a kitchen that reflected their urban temperament in a comfortable suburban family home.
Part of a newly constructed house, the kitchen provided a blank slate for the architects. They started with a generous great room allowing the kitchen to integrate wholly with the living room and backyard. The 12-foot-long island serves as the centerpiece. Lime-washed to allow the oak grain to show through, the island is as a decorative as it is functional with its massive-looking glacier white Corian counter. “The four-inch apron makes the counter appear thick all the way through, but a slab genuinely that large would weigh too much,” Nilsson points out. “Because it’s manmade to exacting dimensions, this single, contiguous piece was able to slide right over the cabinets and fit perfectly in place.”
Like the island, the wall’s full overlay cabinets were custom built by Greenwalt and Sons Custom Cabinetry in nearby Hiram and painted in Sherwin Williams’ Agreeable Gray. Nilsson was careful to break up the solid Shaker doors with cubbies and frosted ribbed glass panels. Together with the butcher-block counter and simple satin nickel pulls it adds up to a clean, modern look that fits the homeowner’s sophistication.
The cooking triangle was meticulously thought out allowing the chef to ease through his or her tasks like a dance. Whatever isn’t in the refrigerator can be found in the full-size pantry located to its right. Next to the deep sink with its professional-style pullout faucet from Danze, a butcher-block inset allows an easy prep area. If the children wish to watch the action, the slim-profile teak and brushed aluminum stools provide comfortable spectator seating.
Seeded glass pendants reclaimed from an old Manhattan warehouse add sparkle while the backsplash offers an artistic tri-colored arrangement of porcelain cut into random strips. Open shelving on the island allows family members to change up colors with crockery or objets d’art depending on their mood or the season.
Just as Decatur encourages its adoptive citizens to show off their true selves, so too does the design-build team of TerraCotta. With their finger on the pulse of styles that go beyond what tradition may have once dictated in their part of the country, Nilsson and Melarti gave their clients the home exactly what they wanted.