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Open kitchen makes parties fun for the cook

By Candice Olson
McClatchy-Tribune
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/02/13/48/1vtWzo.Em.138.jpeg|473
    Brandon Barre - MCT
    The counters are a beautiful honed marble – a sealed white stone with gray veining – which was the perfect choice for both counters and backsplash. The marble is complemented by cabinetry in two colors: oyster for the upper cabinets and an ebony oak finish for the lower cabinets.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/02/13/48/o6ti3.Em.138.jpeg|178
    Brandon Barre - MCT
    This project started as a kitchen redo, but it rapidly expanded to include the living and dining rooms, too.

Zita, Aras and their three kids live in a beautiful bungalow that is always party central, with neighborhood children and their parents often coming over to swim or socialize. But their bungalow’s choppy layout meant that Zita was segregated in the kitchen while she was preparing food. They were looking for an open kitchen.

The project started as a kitchen renovation but quickly expanded to include the living and dining rooms. The plan was to knock down two walls, opening up the entire floor to the backyard view of the pool and ravine. The eat-in kitchen area would be removed and replaced with lots of storage cabinets, an oven, microwave and built-in freezer and fridge. We would relocate the cooktop under the window and move the sink to a giant peninsula in the center of the kitchen.

Even though we were knocking out the walls between the kitchen and the living and dining rooms, we had to be very careful not to crack the beautiful plaster crown molding in those rooms. The solution was to cut the wall well before it joined the ceiling, leaving a bulkhead that would protect the integrity of the plaster design.

I’m a huge fan of natural stone countertops. In this case, I wanted to install something durable but made from a material that was also timeless and classic. Sealed white marble with grey veining was the choice for counters and backsplash. The marble is complemented by two-tone cabinetry: oyster for the upper cabinets, contrasted sharply with an ebony oak finish for the lower cabinets. We even painted Zita and Aras’ existing wooden hutch in the same oyster color, so it would meld with the new cabinetry.

I didn’t want appliances distracting from the design, so I chose built-in, concealed fridge, freezer and dishwasher units. The professional-grade, in-counter cooktop is positioned right in front of the window, so the chef can sample the view while sampling the broth. The state-of-the-art cooktop even features a concealed fume hood that pops up at the touch of a button.

The result? A gorgeous, high-impact kitchen that blends seamlessly with the adjoining living and dining rooms. Whether it’s dinner for five or cocktails for 15, this space can slip into entertainment mode with a moment’s notice. And that’s good, because with three kids, parties can pop up at any time.

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