These 3 remodeled kitchens in NoVA bring style to necessity

From china cabinets to accents of marble, here’s how three NoVA families designed the most-used room in their homes.

kitchen with ceramic finish
The ceramic backsplash and range wall tiles are from the Stellar Collection of Sonoma Tilemakers through Architectural Ceramics. (Photo by Robert Radifera)
Art and Craft

When architect and interior designer Charles Almonte remodeled a dated Vienna kitchen for Eben and Jen Darling—and their two little boys—his primary goal was to create a functional, comfortable kitchen for the whole family. “I wanted to design a welcoming space for them to gather as a family, an inviting kitchen where they could enjoy cooking, eating and spending time together,” he says.

The home’s prior kitchen had an impractical U-shaped layout, with a cumbersome peninsula cutting into the space; it was also sealed off from the adjacent dining room.

This post was originally published in our September 2019 issue. For more Home & Design content, subscribe to our monthly print magazine and weekly e-newsletters.

kitchen sink with faucet and window behind it
Inset paneled cabinets are from Mouser Cabinetry. Their aged bronze hardware complements a stainless-steel apron sink from Signature Hardware fitted with a Kohler faucet. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“It was very difficult for us to be together in the kitchen,” says Eben. “There was ‘dead space’ in the middle of the room and limited counter space around the edges. It was impossible to make more than one dish at a time, much less space to eat in.” He pauses and adds, “The kitchen was literally walled off from the rest of our house. With a toddler and preschooler in our home, this arrangement was simply not practical for our lifestyle.”

Almonte began by rearranging the floor plan around a large multipurpose island for food prep and other uses, including a breakfast bar and appliance storage. He also opened up the dining room to the kitchen, with a short hall between them, containing a wall of built-in china cabinets to one side.

kitchen island with wooden chairs
Jen’s father handcrafted the beautiful bar chairs, which pull up to the new island. The matte black finish metal chandelier above the island is ‘Fainlight’ by Currey & Co. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“Jen’s father is a skilled woodworker, so the family leans toward the artisanal arts and crafts style, so I opted to design the kitchen in a transitional style, with detailed and crafted touches,” adds Almonte.

Throughout the process, he collaborated closely with builder Jason Denny of Denny & Gardner, who helped with the installation of everything, including a full-height ceramic-tiled range backsplash, as well as a wall of tall cabinets, serving as dish storage, food pantry and wine refrigeration.

white cabinet in kitchen
The built-in china cabinet has large, glass upper cupboards for display, and lower closed cabinetry for storage. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

The counters blend a moodier gray-green ‘Taj Mahal’ quartzite for the island top with a lighter, brighter quartz for the peripheral countertops. Hardware is oil-rubbed bronze on two shades of cabinetry.

“We now have everything we need. Space, storage and clean sight lines,” adds Eben. “Jen and I can cook together, while having sufficient counter space for the boys to eat at, or do art projects, without getting underfoot.”

kitchen island with grey and white color scheme
The island base features Shrock Cabinets in a darker gray ‘Forest Floor’ finish. Triple pendants from Pottery Barn work well with the new stainless appliances. Maple perimeter cabinetry from Decora Cabinets in ‘Confection Twilight’ finish goes up to the ceiling to maximize storage. (Photo by Robert Radifera)
Found in Transition

The wish list was in place when Vienna-based interior designer Andrea Maaseide of Studio 320 came on board to remodel a small, dark, builder-grade kitchen in a suburban home in Herndon.

“We wanted to expand the kitchen by removing a wall between the living room and the old kitchen,” says the homeowner, who shares the 15-year-old house with her husband and 4-year-old daughter. “We also wanted to update the colors, finishes and appliances in favor of a modern, softer, clean look.”

wooden circle dining table with white chairs
A Bernhardt dining table and two Lazar dining chairs upholstered in a treated Kravet fabric pair well with a blue tufted settee in the eat-in area. The drum-shade chandelier is from Visual Comfort. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

For three busy months in 2018, Maaseide collaborated rapid-fire on the project with her colleague Phillippa Baker, as well as with Chris Ham of Stonegate Remodeling. Efficiency is tantamount when renovating such an important room.

“Taking down that wall opened everything up, allowing us to increase the kitchen’s footprint, improve storage and add a larger island,” says the homeowner.

kitchen sink with brown cabinetry
“I had really wanted a larger and lower sink to make dishwashing easier,” says the homeowner. An undermount apron sink by Kohler does the trick, with a Newport Brass faucet. The Tortora ceramic tiles in a glossy finish add a soft palette and reflective quality to the backsplash. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

New inset-paneled cabinetry in a creamy hue replaced dark cherry wood ones, and in place of black granite countertops, there are now warm, white quartz ones. Though the sink’s location remained the same, the new bank of larger windows increased the flow of natural light into the room. Dated tiles gave way to hardwood floors finished to blend with existing flooring in the now-great-room’s sitting area.

“Being able to do a larger island was key for the family,” says Maaseide, “not only because it provided the extra storage beneath that the family wished for, but it’s also the perfect spot for entertaining, working and eating casual family meals.”

glass plate storage in kitchen
A bar area was created in a dead space, with plenty of storage. Glass-fronted cabinets provide display space. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

The great room also has access to the grill and patio outside, which was created via an added door.

“We use the kitchen daily for breakfast and dinner, as we love to cook on our new gas stove,” says the homeowner. “It’s really become the gathering place it should always have been.”

dining table with green plants in vase
A mix of solid and striped linen pillows in soft neutrals provide comfort on the banquette. (Photo by Robert Radifera)
European Gem

Our galley kitchen was so tight and cramped before the remodel,” says homeowner Christina Ledbetter, who loves to cook for her husband, Jared, and three children, ages 4 to 11, and hated her dated galley kitchen in the Burke home. “The backside of the hall closet took up half its footprint, storage was limited and there was only one dim overhead light in the whole space!”

Also based in Burke, interior designer Alison Giese embraced the challenge of updating the kitchen in 2018, enlisting the help of Jason Holsey at Bedrock Remodeling.

marble kitchen table with wooden chairs
The new L-shaped banquette provides plenty of seating at the marble-topped dining table. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

In addition to reclaiming the hall closet’s space, Giese replaced a small single window above the sink with a large double one, which not only brought more natural light into the kitchen, but also added visual balance to the existing bay window in the eat-in area. The latter is now home to a custom-designed eat-in banquette.

“Our overall concept was to maintain the galley footprint, but make it feel more visually open and European in style,” says Giese of eliminating all the crowded upper cabinets, except for a custom counter-height hutch designed for large appliances and everyday dish storage.

marble backsplash in kitchen
An enlarged double casement window above the sink brings in natural light, while a pair of scones provides additional task lighting. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“I love the look and function of the new marble ledge that runs across the top of the new backsplash,” says the homeowner of the beautifully veined Calacutta Vagli marble that makes up the double feature.

Brand-new, mostly below-the-counter cabinetry from Unique Kitchens & Bath are finished in greige with aged brass hardware. This collaboration was so successful that Giese is now curating a line of custom colors and stains for UK & B. Counters are practical quartz throughout in a high-contrast charcoal hue.

black windows in kitchen above dishwasher
An enlarged double casement window above the sink brings in natural light, while a pair of scones provides additional task lighting. (Photo by Robert Radifera)

“It’s a highly personalized space that isn’t cookie-cutter,” adds Giese.

Another special feature is the plaster hood that is finished in a lime wash, imparting an aged ‘Old World’ vibe. Though the sink’s location stayed the same, overlooking the backyard, the new apron sink is larger and deeper.

“I get my greatest sense of accomplishment daily from making a scrumptious healthy meal for my family. The kitchen is the heart of our home and the remodel allows us to use it to its fullest potential,” says Ledbetter.

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