Articles / Kitchen

Center stage

Want to know more?

Contact us

When blending traditional elements with a modern ambiance, material choices enhance the composition


A kitchen island can take on a variety of roles within a design. From one end it might appear as a breakfast counter, while from another it works as a multifunctional domestic assistant.

The marble-topped island in this kitchen fits both these descriptions, and is also a key design feature.

To begin with, the owners asked designer Beth Kopin to create a welcoming kitchen that would combine classic touches with a contemporary sensibility.

"In order to achieve this, transitional cabinet fronts with flat panels and subtle crown mouldings were selected, and set against aged wood floors. Balance was provided by uncluttered, solid surfaces and stainless steel appliances," says the designer.

"The marble island counter in Calacatta Gold leads the modern look, with the sides of the slab built up to maximize its visual presence. Perimeter countertops in white marble are shallower, to give even more emphasis to the solidity of the island."


In transitional kitchens, a balanced use of materials is vital, and the island illustrates this aspect of the design equally effectively.

"In one way, good kitchen design represents an efficient organization of effort – tight work triangles and proximity to dining areas and the butler's pantry, for example – and this kitchen achieves this practical aim," says Kopin. "However, it's also important to pay attention to material relationships, to ensure that the design doesn't date."

For example, the marble on the island is repeated on the backsplash and also tones in with the Cashmere White marble on perimeter countertops. The silvery vein of the marble is echoed in the pewter glaze of the cabinetry and again in the platinum color of the hand-made porcelain tiles. The color also chimes with the sinks and appliances.

The refrigerator, cooktop and hood and farmhouse sink are all positioned in different areas, subtly interweaving stainless steel through the entire design.

"Stainless steel drawers under the cooktop provide a handy place for pots and pans, but also add to the impact of this material," says Kopin.

White upper cabinetry tones with the countertops and walls in this area of the home. The dark under-counter island and butler's pantry cabinets provide contrast and echo the rich wood cabinetry finishes seen elsewhere in the interior of the home.

"I introduced glass-fronted cabinets to break up the run of white wood and white walls," says Kopin. "This kitchen provides transitions between materials and tones as well as different time periods."

First published date: 24 February 2011

More news from Trends

Credit List

Designer Beth Kopin ASID, NKBA, HBGC, Beth Kopin Interiors (Highland Park, IL)
Builder Glassberg Homes
Kitchen manufacturer Bea Industries
Cabinetry Custom, pewter glaze on cream
Island countertop surface and backsplash Calacatta Gold marble from Acorn Industries Perimeter countertops Cashmere White marble from Acorn Industries
Kitchen sink Stainless steel farmhouse
Faucets Farmhouse Rohl
Hot water systems Waterstone
Oven Thermador
Cooktop, ventilation Viking
Microwave Sharp
Wine cooler Marvel
Dishwasher Bosch
Waste disposal KitchenAid
Refrigerator Sub-Zero
Flooring White oak 5in plank, with dark walnut stain
Wall tiles Glazed porcelain tile with pewter glaze
Lighting Boyd Lighting
Blinds Hunter Douglas
Kitchen furniture Espresso chairs by Orange Skin