Robert Radifera Photography
When Washington DC-based designer Martha Vicas was commissioned by MS Vicas Interiors to transform a 1916 DuPont Circle Victorian into a “contemporary classic,” she focused on a specific priority to move the project forward: making it work and make it work to give flow. Nowhere was this more important than in the eat-in kitchen. In the primary gathering place for a busy family of five to get everything done from cooking and eating to checking out homework and emails, Vicas set out to highlight the architectural beauty of the brick and stucco Beaux Arts space while adapting it to their modern needs and lifestyles.
The family that occupies the home — a tech couple and their three children — added another goal to their wish list for the renovation process: create a comfortable retreat in the middle of a busy city that feels like home to everyone feels. This meant layering warm textures, using cheerful colors but understated, making sure nothing is too precious and everything serves a purpose while also adding a touch of beauty.
Ahead, take a closer look at that kitchen that does everything.
The neutral palette in the kitchen area of the great room is all about creating an atmosphere of accessible luxury through the use of layered textures and nature-inspired finishes. The wraparound cabinetry is finished with a custom oak stain that provides a slight contrast to the pre-existing white oak hardwood floors which have been restored to their original early 20th century shine.
Basic color of the kitchen island: Black Beauty by Benjamin Moore. Wall paint: Cloud White by Benjamin Moore. counter stool: Modloft. Hardware: Mood handles.
Smart kitchen island design
Quality, durable materials and a strategic layout are essential for a busy family kitchen. Take the island for example: not only does it provide a prep and eating surface for more casual meals, it also features elegant and discreet built-in appliances and storage that are not visible from the dining area. All you see from the other side of the island is beautiful finishes and pretty built-ins and hardware.
Microwave: SubZero Wolf. Water tap: briso Base of the kitchen island: Walker’s Creek Closets. Kitchen island countertop: Calacatta Corcia. window Treatments: Transparent mesh from Sahco.
“The kitchen is small,” says Vicas, “but the ceilings are ten feet high, so we wanted to make good use of the vertical space. The ladder allows for easy access to the frequently used top cabinet.” Even if you have limited square footage but sky-high ceilings, take advantage of this vertical space with lots of overhead cabinets and add a library ladder to reach stored goods and the space while giving more depth. The countertops and backsplash, both Calcutta marble manufactured by US Marble Beltsville, speak to the layers of nature-inspired materials, like the flooring, but feel significantly more elegant and also brighten the space.
Ladder: Putnam Rolling Ladder. Bowls and countertop accessories: Blue Pheasant. Area: SubZero Wolf.
Paneled dining area
“The house doesn’t have a formal dining room, so we wanted to create a comfortable, elegant place for family meals and entertaining,” explains Vicas. So original moldings and ornate features that the mantel featured excitingly when included in the project lent themselves well to a more formal dining experience. Monochrome patterns, like the upholstered dining room chairs, add richness to the dining area.
Background: Philip Jeffries. Photos: Mitch Dobrowner. Fan: Alturo Alvarez. storage unit: Custom cabinet with Nero Marquina and Black Beauty lacquered tops.
Smooth transition in the entrance area
The dining room part of the eat-in kitchen opens to the main entrance of the house. The deep jewel tones of the carpet make a strong first impression, while the mirror facade of the fireplace in the dining room and kitchen reflect a similar mood.
dining table: altura dining chairs: Bernhardt upholstered in Pollack fabric. Table accessories: Riedel, CB2 and resident’s own collection.
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