March 5, 2020
The request for a clean and contemporary kitchen might seem simple enough for a new home. The challenge for designer Gail Drury of Glen Ellyn, Ill.-based Drury Design was creating a space uniquely tuned to her clients: two taller homeowners who love to host and had a particular inspiration in mind.
“The homeowners are avid skiers and were inspired by modern mountain ski homes from trips gone by,” said Drury. “So my goal as a designer was to create a modern but soothing space designed for entertaining family and friends with strong attention to the finer details, all in a natural setting.”
A Layout for Entertaining
These empty nesters asked Drury for a spacious kitchen with two separate workstations and a floor plan that accommodated hosting. The resulting set up had the main prep sink – a Galley workstation – on a center island across from the range, fridge and freezer. Double ovens and a steam oven, as well as a warming drawer, are also on this wall.
“This layout keeps the guests out of the cook’s work area and makes entertaining easy,” said the designer. “Meanwhile, the other side of the kitchen is exclusively for clean up and table setting.”
This side of the room includes an additional sink, as well as a dishwasher and the silverware and utensil drawers. Nearby lit-glass tambour door cabinets contain the dishes, as well as countertop appliances and a designated coffee station.
“The guests are encouraged to mingle in this area, help themselves to a cup of coffee and take part in set up and clean up,” said Drury, adding that the island acts as a divider to keep guests out of the actual prepping side of the kitchen.
To make tasks easier in the kitchen for the homeowners, Drury addressed their height with countertop and cabinetry design and placement. The wall cabinets were raised slightly higher than average so that the interior shelves are at a better height for their reach. The countertops were made thicker, and a band of metal was added below to raise them to 37.5 inches.
“If you want to determine what the perfect height is for your countertop, bend your elbow to 9 degrees and take the dimension from your elbow to the floor without shoes,” said the designer. “Deduct 6 inches, and you will have the perfect countertop height for you.. Use the height for the primary cook or find a happy medium.”
Since the ceiling was also tall and everything was placed slightly higher than average, there was the risk that the hood would look out of scale. To overcome this, the team placed the it at the top of the manufacturer’s recommended height placement, and the hood looks in balance with the room.
Establishing a Modern Mountain House Feel
To create the ski home appeal the homeowners were looking for, Drury aimed for a relaxing, sleek look with lots of natural light and natural materials. She also wanted to ensure the design had contemporary elements for balance.
This starts with the island, which has a lit tall toe space underneath to create a floating effect. The soffit above the island has a reverse effect with lights shining upward, making the island below feel light and airy. To keep it as sleek as possible, Drury designed the island with touch and Servo latches instead of hardware.
The walnut-stained cabinetry around the perimeter of the kitchen adds a natural element to the space. Stacked stone-clad pillars help differentiate the kitchen from the living area and add a rustic feel to the space. Large windows looking out to the wooded yard complete the natural look.
“The result is a soothing, harmonious, beautiful kitchen designed for entertaining family and friends, featuring modern elements and the natural setting of the home and the outdoors,” said Drury.
Designer: Gail Drury, CMKBD, Drury Design
Photographer: Eric Hausman/Eric Hausman Photography
Cabinetry: Grabill Cabinets
Cooktop, Electric Oven, Microwave & Steam Oven: Wolf
Freezer, Refrigerator & Wine Cooler: Sub-Zero
Warming Drawer: Dacor
Workstation: The Galley