"The new owners of this early 19th-century home set in a historic district west of Boston wanted nothing short of a transformation. A number of small rooms were opened to create the new kitchen, which combines cutting-edge design with a celebration of the elegance and style of the home's Federal period history. A dual-level island with complementary wood and granite tops separates work and gathering areas while also giving the deep island more dimension.
"The wood top of the eating area was custom made to match the cabinetry color, creating a nice balance in color. In addition to seating for four, storage on the sides and back of the upper level increase its function. The lower level features a granite top, as well as a dishwasher, built-in trash unit and a tray base divider on the far end near the range for easy access while cooking."
Designer: Claudette Andrew
Westborough Design Center, Inc
"With its airy feel, this space is a sharp contrast from the original kitchen, a tight and limited area. The homeowners desired a large, open, efficient space with designated areas to bake, cook and gather. By initially eliminating walls that formed a walk-in pantry and relocating an exterior door, the room immediately became more spacious. Custom features include hidden electrical outlets, a cabinet for the mixer and a second sink to serve as a bake center, prep center and bar."
"The island cabinetry echoes the green walls and is topped with a dramatic imported Iroko wood countertop by Spekva. A Viking cooktop makes the island the kitchen's cooking center."
Designer: Susan Lund
San Anselmo, California
"This colorful kitchen combines two specialty paint finishes to create a warm, inviting French Country design. A generous island and peninsula provide a limitless expanse of counter space for meal preparation and serve as a buffet for frequent entertaining.
"It uses Corsi cabinetry in a Harrison door style featuring Muslin and English Ivy painted finishes. This is a very large kitchen. When you end up using one color in such a space it gets lost, and there's no detail in it. When you incorporate two colors, it helps define the beauty and quality of the cabinetry.
"Most of the time we'll do an island with lots of corbels, fluted posts and onlays, and put a different color on the island to highlight the details. It becomes our showpiece, our highlight."
Designer: Al Lizotte
Westborough Design Center Inc.
Two Countertop Materials
"The island has two different countertop heights and materials. The granite on the lower level can be used for sitting down and eating, rolling dough, or mixing. The elevated clear maple top can be used for working. The maple is hard and will last indefinitely, as long as you don't chop directly on the finish. We used it throughout, except on the lower island counter and by the cooktop, where we used granite, which can withstand hot pots and pans.
"We also lowered the counter on either side of the cooktop from the standard 36 inches to 33 inches. That's a European style of cooking that makes it more ergonomically comfortable to stir and fill pots. We used a gold-green granite to pick up the natural maple in the cabinets and the distressed green in the island. The clear maple connects with the cabinets."
Designer: DeWitt Talmadge Beall
DeWitt Designer Kitchens
Sherman Oaks, California
An Island Hood
"This kitchen is in a brand new vacation home where the clients planned to do a lot of entertaining. They wanted something impressive. The kitchen serves as a central gathering place and is located right off the entryway. The rest of the home is roomy and casual but they wanted to dress the kitchen up.
"The stainless steel hood forms a striking focal point with its heavy mass and its placement directly across from the equally dramatic window. It's such a large rectangular room that that kind of focus was needed. The stainless steel is picked up in the rest of the kitchen in the appliances and the undermount sink."
Designer: Patrick Hughey-Commers