Opening Up a Closed-In Kitchen

Published: June 3, 2024
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The homeowners came to architect Kate Donahue of Washington, D.C.-based Four Brothers Design + Build with some clear objectives for the remodel of their 1975 residence in Great Falls, Va. Prime among them was opening up the closed-in kitchen to the first-level living area.

But they had some items on their wishlist that posed challenges to the Four Brothers team. First, they were insistent on not having any visible overhead beams. While Donahue was able to specify a very large steel beam that could be set behind the ceiling, this resulted in having two substantial structural columns as part of the kitchen design. Sheathed in oak, they rise from one of the two large islands in the room.

Classic Colors, Fresh Uses

The client also didn’t want the cabinets on the islands and the perimeter to match. “We definitely went back and forth about which elements would be black and which would be white,” said the designer. “Ultimately, we decided to keep the kitchen lighter around the edges so as to not overwhelm the space.”

The different shapes of the islands (one is rectangular, the other is square) inspired the decorative lighting in the room. A single pendant centered over the square island provided sufficient light, but more illumination was needed over the larger area of the rectangular island. Donahue said, “That led us down the path of allowing the rectangular island pendants to deviate somewhat from the design of the fixture over the square island pendant.” The final selection – a black semi-spherical pendant and a pair of white-globed geometric fixtures – add spirit to the room.

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Design: Kate Donahue, RA, Four Brothers Design + Build; Photography: Steve Hersberger; Beverage Refrigerator: U-Line; Cabinets: Elmwood; Cabinet Hardware: Rejuvenation; Countertops: Arabescus White marble (islands),Via Lactea (perimeter); Dishwasher: Miele; Faucets: AXOR; Lighting: FLOS; Ice Maker: True Residential; Microwave: Sharp; Range, Refrigerator: BlueStar; Refrigerator Drawer: Fisher & Paykel; Sinks: Kraus, Link-A-Sink; Tile: Artistic Tile, Vent Hood: Best

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