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Traditional kitchen by Harrison Design Associates

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Traditionally styled kitchens are often defined by expansive wood cabinets, either painted or stained. Balancing the heavy and dark elements is one of the secrets of a successful design.

In this remodeled kitchen, designed by Robert Tretsch and the team from Harrison Design Associates, the cabinets are a dark-stained cherry, but the floor-to-ceiling units do not overpower the space.

"We countered the dark wood with white Carrara marble countertops and seamless slabs of Carrara on the backsplashes right around the kitchen," says Tretsch. "We also added a white ceiling and 50% of the checkered marble floor is white. So there is plenty of reflectivity – and lots of natural light to bounce around the room."

The key concept for the design was the idea of the kitchen sitting within a single, giant piece of furniture. The furniture-like detailing reflects this – corbels, pilasters, crown mouldings and entablatures reference similar millwork in other areas of the Georgian-style house.

"We worked with one of the best cabinetmakers in town to ensure no detail was overlooked, and this even extends to the hardware," says Tretsch.


Functionality was also a given, the designer says.

"The cabinets are chock full of accessories, with pull-out pantries, crockery drawers and pull-out units in the pilasters. Everything is stored right where it is needed."

Tretsch says providing two islands was a practical response to the long kitchen. It makes it easier to cross the room, and allows for several workstation areas – one island accommodates the main sink and the other has the prep sink. There are also small sinks for drinks areas on the perimeter countertops, either side of the arched entry into a new sunroom.

Other key features include a butler's pantry, a mirror that doubles as a TV, and numerous high-end appliances.

First published date: 19 December 2013

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Credit List

Kitchen designer Robert A Tretsch III AIA, R Derek Hopkins AIA, Harrison Design Associates (Atlanta, GA)
Architect William H Harrison AIA, John Albanese AIA, Harrison Design Associates
Cabinet company Block and Chisel
Builder Unique Housing Concepts
Cabinetry Cherry wood
Countertops and backsplash Carrara marble
Flooring Carrara and Nero marble in checkerboard pattern
Pendants Schonbek crystal bell jar
Ovens, cooktop and ventilation Wolf
Refrigeration Sub-Zero