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A wealth of detail is offset by a lived-in aesthetic in this expansive, comfortable family kitchen


The allure of wood can be a powerful tool for a kitchen designer. Regardless of cabinet style, spatial organization, or choice of appliances, this natural material brings an intrinsic sense of warmth appropriate to the heart of the home.

This kitchen forms part of a large, traditional residence designed by architect Chuck Peterson. The formal style of the house is carried through into the kitchen, says Peterson.

"Ornate crown mouldings, chair rails, and fluted columns are in keeping with the classic style. In the public rooms, these elements are painted white to accentuate the effect.

"I used the same high level of detailing in the open-plan kitchen, family and dining area, but here all the surfaces are in exposed wood, downplaying the old-world styling."

The cabinets are constructed in knotty pine but the wood's original pale character is long gone. Surfaces have been worn, rubbed and then stained to create a sense that the kitchen has had a colorful history.


"After initial distressing, the cabinetry was glazed – with a darker stain hand-worked into all the nooks, crannies and door hinges, then wiped away again. Residual traces of the darker solution remain, creating the impression of well-used doors, drawers and surfaces."

While the aged wood cabinets underplay the wealth of detailing, Peterson was careful to soften the extensive use of one material.

"On the largest piece, which houses the integrated refrigeration and a pull-out pantry, I introduced glass-fronted display niches at the top to give it a lighter appearance."

Apart from a microwave and dishwasher on the inner side of the island, most appliances are set behind cabinetry doors. The substantial Aga range is a notable exception.

"This classic freestanding range is not only suited to robust family life, it also fits with the traditional aesthetic of the kitchen."

Also contributing to the old-world feel are the herringbone parquet floors. As with the cabinetry, the floors were sanded and worked to create the impression of wear and tear – and then sealed for protection.

"The entire house has a symmetrical layout and form and balance are celebrated here, too. Door paneling carries through on all surfaces, including on false doors – and the range hood has had the same treatment," Peterson says.

First published date: 31 August 2011

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Credit List

Faucets Pull out in satin nickel by Rohl
Range Aga
Ventilation Custom hood by Midland Cabinetry, Vent-A-Hood ventilator
Refrigeration Sub-Zero; Marvel
Dishwasher Fisher & Paykel
Trash compactor KitchenAid
Steam oven Miele
Wine refrigerator Wine Captain, Echelon, both by U-Line
Architect Chuck Peterson, Chuck Peterson Architects (Santa Rosa, CA)
Interior designer Chuck Peterson Architects
Builder Nordby Signature Homes
Cabinet company Midland Cabinet Company
Cabinetry Distressed pine with glazed highlights in joints, clear finish
Countertop and backsplash Granite from Fox Marble
Kitchen sinks Marsala double sink, Bakersfield sink, both by Kohler