How One Designer Doubled the Size of This Kitchen Without Moving Any Walls – House Beautiful

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Working with Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens and Baths, she gave it a heavenly glow.
It all started with the stove. Alison Giese’s Arlington, Virginia, clients selected their kitchen’s centerpiece—a Lacanche range in a deep, dusky gray—before hiring the designer to oversee a top-to-bottom overhaul of the ’90s-era space. “Their take was, ‘We know this is going to be an investment. We want to do things right the first time,’ ” Giese recalls. “They were willing to do high-end appliances to get the kitchen they wanted.”
Giese went on to curate a sumptuous material palette to match the handcrafted French range: brass hardware, bespoke oak cabinetry, stone countertops. But before any of this could be actualized, the floor plan needed fixing. “The working area was all crammed into one side of the space, and they really didn’t know what to do with the other half,” Giese explains. So she came up with three distinct zones to place along the room’s perimeter, doubling the functionality without compromising flow. Custom cabinetry in three tones, designed by Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens and Baths, anchors each section.
A cooking area, complete with a maple-wood island stained charcoal brown, takes center stage along the back wall. To its left, dishware shelves and a paneled refrigerator are hidden behind olive-green cabinetry embellished with arches that echo the curved range hood. And where there was formerly dead space, the designers installed what they call a “morning bar,” which houses the husband’s requested smoothie station, as well as a coffeemaker and wine fridge (for mimosas, natch) in handsome white oak.
For practicality’s sake, pocket doors on the cabinets disappear when open so everyday items are easily accessible, and slide closed when company comes to call. Giese says her clients “still send messages that say, ‘We’re living our best life in this space!’ ”
(Above) Set between two extra-large windows, the range and hood are off-center on the back wall—but by relegating pendant lights to the perimeter of the island, instead of right in the middle where they would highlight the asymmetry, the designer made sure no one would notice.
White paint: Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore. Cabinetry: Unique Kitchens and Baths, in custom paint (green), stain (charcoal), and limed wax (wood). Hardware: Rejuvenation. Pendants: Olde Brick Lighting. Range: Lacanche. Countertop: Calacatta quartzite. Stools: Four Hands. Wine cooler: Sub-Zero.
A wine fridge, coffee station, and smoothie prep zone are combined to streamline
prework rituals.
Hardware: Rejuvenation. Rug: Unique Kitchens and Baths. Sink: Kohler. Faucet: Brizo. Art: Chelsea Fly.
Pocket doors reveal a coffee bar and dishware display but can be closed to hide clutter.
A subtle arch motif spices up the shaker cabinetry, and echoes the slope of the range hood.
More pocket doors slide open to reveal a tabletop collection.
A charcoal stain darkens the oak island to complement the other two cabinetry colors.
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