April 25, 2022
Guests entering the kitchen in this District of Columbia home could be excused for feeling a bit disoriented; instead of the familiar four walls, the floor plan was essentially a distorted octagon with neither a clear path through it nor a clear focal point. The homeowner asked Kristen Mendoza, project designer for Washington, D.C.-based Four Brothers Design + Build, to elongate the asymmetrical kitchen and tweak the connection between it and the adjacent living room in a way that would ease the passage of people between the two spaces.
The challenge with this kitchen was its odd, faceted shape. The work surface cut through the space perpendicularly which limited the placement and quantity of cooking surfaces, storage, upper cabinets and circulation. After analyzing the kitchen’s footprint, the designer decided it would be beneficial to angle the cabinetry in accord with the space. “Usually, angles in the island and cabinets would date the kitchen,” said Mendoza. “But in this case, it felt more natural to do that instead of competing with the existing architecture. It worked in our favor to add some asymmetry into the design.”
Refining the layout wasn’t the only objective for the project; the original room also suffered from a dearth of storage.
“The old kitchen did not have much storage or cabinetry,” said Mendoza. “There was a pantry closet with bifold doors, and the storage cabinets were limited to the small cabinet above the refrigerator, one base cabinet with drawers and the unit that was home to the cooktop. That’s a grand total of three storage cabinets!”
The range is directly behind the living room fireplace (perhaps unsurprisingly in such a quirky space, it sits at a different angle than the range). Mendoza used the extra cavity in the wall to add more storage. Because of the angled wall, the upper cabinets on either side of the range are two different depths; those on the left side are 20 inches deep and the ones to the right of the appliance are 10 inches deep. The base units are uniformly 24 inches deep.
The Four Brothers team converted the paltry pantry into a wall of built-in appliances that now houses a paneled refrigerator, coffee bar, wine fridge and speed oven. Now, the homeowner has her prep appliances in one central area. A new island provides both additional seating and storage, giving structure and function the the asymmetrical kitchen.
Designer: Kristen Mendoza, Four Brothers LLC
Photography: Steve Hershberger
Backsplash, Countertop: Cararra Cosmos
Cabinets: Elmwood by Cabico
Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs
Lighting: Lambert & Fils, RH
Range, Speed Oven, Vent Hood: Miele
Wine Refrigerator: Monogram