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With pivoting Mondrian-inspired glass doors and sleek black-brown cabinets, this modern kitchen in a Craftsman-style house has a commanding presence


Just because the original kitchen in a house was designed to complement a particular architectural style, it doesn't mean it has to stay this way. Sometimes, breaking out of the traditional mold can bring about a refreshing change – in terms of both looks and functionality.

Architect Robert M Gurney took such an approach for the remodeling project featured on these pages. The sleek Bulthaup cabinets replace a very traditional kitchen, originally designed to complement the Craftsman-style house.

"The existing kitchen was in need of updating," says Gurney. "But the remodeling project provided an opportunity to improve the whole flow of the house by re-orienting the kitchen to align with the main circulation axis."

Gurney says the kitchen, both literally and figuratively, is the center of the home, and as such, it needed to have a stronger connection to the adjacent family living area. In the original layout, the main island was perpendicular to the family room, which was also partially separated by a wall.

Removing this wall and straightening a dog-leg wall on the other side of the room provided a greater area of space. This allowed for a larger, galley-style kitchen with a long island.


"There was a need to control the noise from the family room," says Gurney. "Introducing a set of four pivoting glass doors allows the rooms to be separated."

The Mondrian-inspired doors also help to visually link the modern kitchen to the family room. The verticality of the doors is juxtaposed by the linear shape of the hood, and by the strong, horizontal lines of the island and its sleek, stainless steel bar top.

Maple flooring flows throughout the living areas, providing visual continuity between the modern and more traditional spaces.

To further enhance a seamless look, major appliances, including two refrigerators, are integrated into the black-brown oak veneer cabinets. Roll-up aluminum doors conceal small appliances and additional counter space.

"The kitchen was designed for a family that loves to entertain," says Gurney. "Consequently, there is plenty of room for more than one person to work in the space at one time. There is also a separate beverage center, complete with its own refrigeration, on one side of the kitchen."

Ample storage is provided by the cabinets, and a separate pantry behind the kitchen.

First published date: 19 May 2010

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Credit List

Architect Robert M Gurney, FAIA; project architect – Claire Andreas, Robert M Gurney Architects (Alexandria, VA)
Kitchen manufacturer Bulthaup Washington DC; showroom manager – Alison Tilley
Cabinetry Black-brown oak veneer by Bulthaup
Countertops Calacatta Gold
Flooring Maple
Pivoting doors Custom designed by Robert M Gurney
Lighting Lightolier
Sinks Franke
Faucets Bulthaup
Oven, cooktop, ventilation, dishwasher Gaggenau
Refrigeration Sub-Zero