March 6, 2017
Beside Rock Creek Park in Derwood, Md., a 1980s-era planned community boasts woodland views but often dated and compartmentalized homes. A young family purchased one of these houses, but they knew immediately that watching their children and having a functional family setting would be difficult in the existing layout. Bruce Wentworth of Chevy Chase, Md.-based Wentworth Inc. came into the picture to restructure the home – particularly the kitchen – to suit the modern family.
Open and Defined
In the original design, a wall separated the kitchen and family room and inhibited their ability to communicate across different spaces. The clients instead wanted an updated kitchen with an open plan and a more functional layout. In addition, they wanted a family room and dining area but not a formal dining room. Finally, the clients felt the old walk-in pantry was a waste of space since it was in an awkward location, and the kitchen had a lot more potential than it was showing.
“Our design team found that although the 37-ft. by 17-ft. space – with a 9-ft. ceiling – was large and wonderful to work with,” said Wentworth. “We avoided the space feeling like a warehouse through thoughtful planning and architectural treatment. That helped define the space into a kitchen, dining, dry bar and entry and family room – all while maintaining an open plan.”
Wentworth’s team of architects and craftsmen worked with AutoCad to divide the expansive space into four zones that still work as one. Each zone is defined by drywall partitions with 14-ft. by 8-ft.-tall uncased openings, or short walls that visually suggest different spaces without closing in the room. This design allows people in the family room to easily communicate with someone in the kitchen while allowing each zone to have its own purpose.
With an open plan in place, the family now hoped for a more transitional-style kitchen that still suited their 1980s-dated house. With painted cabinets in mind, the clients received white perimeter cabinetry that blends well with a white tile backsplash.
“The backsplash tile was installed from countertop to ceiling to provide a ‘wow’ factor upon entering the space,” said Wentworth.
The 4-in. by 8-in. tile was chosen for its scale and rectangular shape, and it was installed in a herringbone pattern on the most visible wall in the kitchen. The white tile defines the perimeter walls of the kitchen and provides pattern and texture.
In contrast to the white cabinetry and backsplash, the center island features dark green cabinets that echo the nearby woodlands. The dry bar, near the entrance to the kitchen, also includes dark green cabinetry. Two different quartz countertops – a dark gray around the perimeter and a white tone for the island – continue to add contrast.
Above the island, the three pendants were chosen as unobtrusive but functional lighting. According to Wentworth, he didn’t want large pendants at the island, as they tend to stop the eye and shorten the depth of the space. These pendant fixtures are modern but work well with the transitional design of the kitchen and make the cooking area easily visible throughout the large room.
“Intimacy is achieved with this open-plan design,” said Wentworth. “The space is at peace with itself.”
Designer: Bruce Wentworth, Wentworth Inc.
Photographer: Geoffrey Hodgdon
Apron–Front Sink: Kohler
Garbage Disposer: Insinkerator
Gas Cooktop: Viking
Microwave Drawer: Sharp
Vent Hood: Zephyr
Wall Tile: Dal-Tile
Wine Refrigerator: U-Line