September 4, 2015
After redesigning three bathrooms in a three-level row house in Washington, D.C., designer Bruce Wentworth of locally based Wentworth Studio was asked to finish the home with a kitchen renovation.
“My favorite part was that she invited us back,” he said. “We already had a good sense of her taste, and now we had a chance to take down some walls and open up the rest of the space.”
Give and Take
On the middle level of this 1960s brick end-unit home, the galley kitchen was isolated behind several walls and separated from the living and dining spaces. In addition to removing the walls, Wentworth opened up the kitchen by removing an adjacent coat closet. The new closet now is wrapped on two sides by base cabinets for storage and open shelving above for easy access.
“The space became a lot more efficient,” said Wentworth, adding that he also found void space – about 18 inches – that they used to expand the cabinetry.
For a mid-century modern look, the open plan was further defined by ceiling height changes and floor materials. Since the team could not make new penetrations in the condominium wall, the ceiling was dropped four inches to accommodate ductwork. This dropped drywall ceiling curves to mirror the 12-in. by 24-in. floor tile, which accentuates the kitchen’s linearity with a staggered joint pattern. The tile’s neutral coloring also complements the owner’s Turkish rug collection.
The client had a particular aesthetic Wentworth aimed to fulfill: a cross between modern design and mid-century modern, as well as a touch of the eccentric.
“She really loved a clean design,” said Wentworth, referring to a photo the client presented of modern cabinets. “So when we started working on the design, we thought about doing custom cabinets with a rift-sawn oak veneer.”
When painted, the cabinetry shows off the grain while still having the trendy gray color. An 18-ft. wall of cabinets, broken up by the sink, runs along the work and storage are opposite of four open shelves. The final 12-in.-deep base cabinets in the work zone transition to the dining room for practical storage.
These modern cabinets are accented by a backsplash hand-picked by the homeowner. Found in her travels to California, the black-, white- and rust-colored geometric tiles complement the gray cabinets and give the space a pop of color. The incised tile pattern has orthogonal, diagonal and radius geometric designs that also show off the rectilinear quality of the kitchen cabinetry.
“The tile was a very personal thing for her, so we installed it for her and it works perfectly,” said Wentworth.
Another personal touch of the client’s was the request to make the island an entertainment zone. Measuring 87 inches by 42 inches and wrapped on three sides with white marble, the island anchors the space.
“She loves to cook, so when she has company over she likes to stand at the island and demonstrate her cooking skills,” explained Wentworth, adding that the cooktop was placed in the island for this purpose. “This floor contains the kitchen, living and dining room in it in an open floor plan, so we wanted it to be made of a beautiful material.”
Above the island, a stainless steel range hood echoes the proportions of the nearby open shelving. A built-in oven is hidden below the cooktop to complete the entertainment and cooking area. To save on the budget, neutral Silestone around the perimeter balanced the splurge on marble.
“This renovation puts the finishing touch on the remodeling of a nice 1960s townhouse,” he added.
Designer: Bruce Wentworth, Wentworth Studio
Photographer: Geoffrey Hodgdon
Cooktop: Summit GC424BGL
Countertop at Back Wall of Kitchen: Silestone – Cemento
Custom Backsplash Tile: Exquisite Surfaces, Model “Sitio”
Dishwasher: Miele Futura Classica G4275CVI
Floor Tile: Natural Sand Field tile in ivory by Mosaic Tile
Garbage Disposer: Insinkerator
Hanging Light Fixture: Marcel Wanders Hood: Zypher Europa Moderna, Stainless steel
Island Stone Top: White Danby Montclair, marble
Kitchen Cabinets: Custom white oak – rift sawn oak veneer with custom gray stain/paint finish, Black Creek Workshop Microwave: Viking RDMOS21SS, Stainless steel
Oven: Thermodor Oven ME3019
Plug Mold: Legrand
Recessed Lighting: Lightolier
Under Cabinet Lighting: CSL