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This kitchen's subtle palette of blond woods complements the furniture and allows the woodland scenery to retain center stage


Creating a kitchen for a homeowner who loves wood doesn't necessarily require the use of every species of tree under the sun. A simple palette of woods avoids a busy look and provides an effective backdrop to other wooden elements within the home.

As part of a large vacation home in the mountains, the owners wanted an informal kitchen that harmonized with the greater, open-plan space, says architect Bryan Russell from architectural firm Dencity.

"One of the owners works extensively in wood, and asked that the kitchen surfaces reflect his passion," says Russell. "Blond wood tones create a subtle backdrop to the darker furniture, the stonework and the owner's own woodwork."

To this end, Russell used pale maple veneer on the kitchen cabinetry, which harmonizes with blond hickory and pecan floors. The ceilings are finished in a light-hued cypress wood.

A light beige, china farmhouse sink adds to the kitchen's rustic appearance, with stainless steel appliances providing contemporary points of contrast.


Workspaces are kept separate from the dining area by the split-level island. And a wet bar is positioned in convenient proximity to the living area and dining table. This table, made from sycamore and mahogany, was built by one of the owners.

In addition to the wood theme, storage was an integral consideration for the design of the kitchen.

"With the kitchen open to both the dining and living spaces, the owners wanted utensils and foodstuffs tucked away out of sight – hence the large walk-in pantry," says Russell. "Together with the pantry, there is storage space in the island, the wall cabinetry, and the wet bar area."

The ceiling gradually slopes away from the double-height scenic windows, on the more scenic side of the room, down to the more intimate, private areas by the wet bar, says the architect.

Although there are a variety of natural hues in this open-plan space, the subtle tones of the kitchen allow the woodlands to remain the central focus.

First published date: 04 May 2005

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Credit List

Architect Bryan Russell, AIA, and Staffan Svenson, AIA, Dencity Design (Atlanta, GA)
Cabinets Maple veneer
Countertops Granite, end-grain maple, pink Georgia marble
Flooring Tongue & groove hickory and pecan, in a clear finish
Windows Aluminum clad Pella Windows
Dining suite Custom table and chairs
Lighting Halo
Backsplash Custom glass tiles by owner
Island vent system Vent-A-Hood
Combined oven and convection microwave Kitchen Aid
Dishwasher Integrated Kitchen Aid
Gas range Wolf
Garbage disposer and compactor Kitchen Aid
Refrigerator Sub-Zero
Sink Farmhouse from Kohler
Faucet mixer KWC
Wet bar refrigerator and ice machine Undercounter from U-Line
Bar sink Stainless steel from Kohler