October 19, 2015
Having slowly renovated each space of their home over several years, a family in Raleigh, N.C. contacted locally based Kitchen & Bath Galleries’ Emily Culley and Rachel Roberts to top it off with a modern kitchen that capitalized on their lakeside location and fit their lifestyle.
“The clients wanted a more open and inviting feel, but improving the kitchen’s functional aspects was also a top priority, as the existing layout did not cater to the clients’ cooking and entertaining style,” explained Culley.
From the outset, existing dark cabinetry made the room feel cramped and claustrophobic, so the design duo juxtaposed white, frameless cabinetry – punctuated by crystal knobs – with a glass subway tile backsplash that would better reflect natural light.
“The homeowners wanted to maximize the light, beauty and natural views, while bringing more of that light and open feel into the kitchen,” said Culley.
Solid wood, soft-close cabinet drawers were added with extra storage space and full-extension undermount glides that “certainly outperform the previous drawer boxes,” said Culley. Durable cabinetry doors were also crafted with medium-density fiberboard to avoid the expansion joints often visible on painted wood doors.
“We chose to use white granite for the countertops, which along with the backsplash, really kept a cool, modern vibe going,” said Culley. “They will be durable without a whole lot of maintenance, which was also the goal. A dark granite was used in the previous design, which was troublesome with fingerprints.”
To introduce additional workspace, the range was shifted off of the existing island, which also improved the room’s sightline and allowed for the installation of a stainless steel hood to vent fumes. The island was then augmented with a new prep sink the family had not had previously, along with seating for five.
“The island is a wonderful prep space where we used decorative panels on the back and molding at the bottom to create a really finished look,” said Culley. “There is no seam in its countertop. The goal here was to maintain a high level of function without sacrificing design details and aesthetic.”
The refrigerator’s location was originally a desk area, and making it appear built-in with the existing walls presented an immense challenge to the designers – who ultimately blended it in using cabinetry parts and molding pieces.
To expand the kitchen’s length, a new bar area was installed with X-shaped wine racks and a walnut butcher block top that contrasts with the room’s mixed textures and polished surfaces, such as chrome, cup-style drawer pulls. The project resulted in an eclectic blend of wood, stainless steel, glass, crystal and tile elements that cohesively work together to reflect the lake nearby.
“The mixture of textures in this project really makes the kitchen feel updated yet comfortable,” said Culley. “There is a lot of visual interest, and it all works together.”
Designer: Emily Culley and Rachel Roberts of Kitchen & Bath Galleries
Photographer: Catherine Nguyen Photography
Cabinetry: Kitchen Craft
Countertops: Absolute Stone
Tile Backsplash: Byrd Tile
Wood Top: J. Thompson Tops