February 11, 2019
When family friends of Brandon Allen, founder of Fort Worth, Texas-based Allen Architecture, decided they wanted to build their own property from the ground up, it was the land they considered first.
“The site does fall within the city limits and is on a significantly traveled road,” said Allen. “We located the house to maximize the site conditions – topography, trees, groves, prevailing breezes, sun, etc. – and provide privacy. If you woke up in the house, you would think you were an hour out of town.”
Providing for Changing Needs
The house needed to work for the current home dynamic, which is a young family with young kids, by being durable and having areas where parents can keep an eye on the children. As the children grow up, the home will then need to provide privacy and separation and ultimately feel intimate when it’s only the empty nesters left.
“We knew this project would be a forever home for the client,” said Allen. “And having young kids, the house needed to adapt through the years. We set out to design a house that lives both grandly and intimately.”
The kitchen is one of the rooms that will likely remain the same no matter the homeowners’ stage of life. It needs to always cater to large groups and offer lots of places for multiple cooks and clean-up helpers.
To do this, Allen decided to include two islands. The island closest to the stove is just large enough for a sink and additional prep area, while the far island is large, L-shaped and complete with bar seating. This separation of functional spaces ensures that the cook and the guests have their own areas, but they can still interact.
In addition to the main prepping and entertaining spaces, there is also a hidden clean-up area behind the main kitchen, making it easier to keep big messes from getting in the way.
Since the family is hoping to keep this home long term, it was best to find a design that would transcend trends and would not have to be updated soon. Allen chose timeless white cabinetry for the majority of the space with simple, flat-paneled doors.
“We work with a phenomenal millworker, Hughes Cabinetry, that can execute anything we come up with,” said the architect, adding that they used both AutoCAD and Sketchup to design this kitchen. “For this, we kept the cabinets a Shaker style for its timelessness and ability to be both traditional and modern.”
The prep island offers a break from the white cabinetry with natural wood cabinets. Topped with the same white quartz as the other island and the perimeter cabinets, this contrasting island brings warmth and a sense of rusticity to the project. This wood is also repeated in the open shelving in the back kitchen and next to the hood.
Pops of aquamarine also lend character to the space. This color can be found on the barstools and on the mosaic tile backsplash behind the range, which was laid out in a herringbone pattern. The hidden back area, as well as the hood, is lined with white shiplap for additional texture. To complement the matte-black hardware and fixtures, Allen installed two matte-black dome pendants over the larger island to complete the picture. The final project reflects a cheery and open kitchen made for happy memories.
“The contractor we used for this project was also a childhood friend, and we often scheduled site meetings on Friday afternoons so that additional friends, family and kids could all get together after business was handled,” said Allen. “The kids had acres in which to run, and we would bring in food and drinks to make it a social event. These events were so successful that we are exploring ways to incorporate something like this into more projects.”
Designer: Brandon E. Allen, Allen Architecture
Photography: Brian McWeeny
Appliances: GE Profile
Backsplash: Concept Surfaces
Cabinets: Hughes Cabinetry
Dining Room Island: Rejuvenation
Dining Room Lighting: Sonneman Lighting
Stair Treads: Hughes Cabinetry
Wall Sconces: School House Electric