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This remodel has turned a cramped galley kitchen into a light, welcoming part of the living space

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‘Let there be light,' the famous biblical creation command, also offers practical inspiration in terms of interior design – be it dreaming up a superior lighting plan or knocking down a wall of cabinetry that blocks out the sun.

The existing '50s galley-style kitchen in this 1880s house suffered from limited natural light and tight work triangles, says designer Gwyneth Hand.

"To transform the space, a central bank of cabinets that had enclosed the room was removed. This opened up the kitchen to the breakfast-sitting room. The perimeter cabinetry remained in the same position, but we added new paneled cabinet fronts. These are a nod to tradition, but also work with the more modern aesthetic requested by the owners. The classic door hardware is a link with the 1950s kitchen."

Hand introduced an island to replace the central cabinetry. This reintroduces some of the storage and utility lost with the removal of the cabinets. The new island, finished in a rich cherry wood, has an understated, furniture-like appeal, and provides a graceful transition from the kitchen to social gathering place. Hand says the cherry wood also works well with the original, refinished hardwood floors that run right through the living spaces.

"Antiqued mirrors on the outside of the island create a sense of additional space and also refract light coming in through the sitting room," she says. "The mirrors and mullions build on the furniture-like feel. The mullions are repeated within the built-in cabinets in the far corners of the breakfast-sitting room, helping draw these two spaces together. And while the island recouped some of the storage space lost from the removal of the old cabinets, even more storage was gained by the addition of two cabinets in the sitting room. These accommodate serving platters and glasses."

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Integrating the refrigerator plays down the more functional aspect of the kitchen, Hand says.

"Tall pull-out pantries alongside the refrigerator provide storage for spices and oils close to the cooking triangle."

The warm gray-green of the perimeter cabinets and the muted, earthy tones of the glass and stone tile backsplash connect with the neutral hues seen in the sitting room. The color scheme is further enhanced by a durable quartzite countertop surface that echoes the tones of the masonry fireplace. The quartzite was also chosen for its subtle, complementary green and taupe veining.

First published date: 06 October 2013

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Credit List

Kitchen designer Gwyneth Hand CKD, Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath (Chevy Chase, MD)
Interior designer Beverley Stinson, Beverley Broun Interiors
Installer Thorsen Construction Co Inc
Cabinetry Greenfield cabinets, frameless in furniture maple, finished in Surfside; island in cherry wood, finished in dark brown glaze; living area built-in cabinets in furniture maple and custom finish
Countertops Marble
Backsplash Glass and tile
Kitchen sink Elkay in stainless steel
Faucets Rohl Bridge faucet in polished nickel Cooktop and range Bosch 700 series dual fuel
Ventilation Custom, integrated
Microwave Wolf
Refrigeration Sub-Zero
Dishwasher Miele, fully integrated
Waste disposal InSinkErator
Lighting Recessed spot task lighting, under-cabinet concealed lighting
Floors Wide-plank oak, existing
Fireplace screen owner