An open floor plan that provides for a warm, casual environment combined with walls of windows that offer stunning views to the world outside draw immediate attention in this Annapolis, MD, cottage that overlooks the river. But it doesn’t take long before visitors take notice of the kitchen, which is highlighted with design details that create an informal, yet sophisticated environment for entertaining and family get-togethers.
Mark T. White, CKD, CBD and owner of Kitchen Encounters, Annapolis, MD, designed the space in collaboration with Debra Lysy, interior designer and owner of Lysy Interior Designs in Sedona, AZ, and Greg Lauer Custom Homes, also in Annapolis, where Scott Carpenter served as the project supervisor.
“This waterfront cottage remodel had some awesome design opportunities, and some challenges,” notes White. “The result is a successful collaboration between the kitchen designers, the clients, the interior designer and skilled craftsmen.”
Highlight the focal points
Design opportunities started with the panoramic view of the river. “It’s the focus of the home,” says White. “We didn’t want to lose that view when we designed the kitchen.”
To bring the two together, White opted for a quarter-circle raised countertop nestled within the L-shaped island. Crafted by Chesapeake Cabinet & Woodwork in Annapolis, it is topped with dark-stained, hand-hewn alder and accented with a sage green bead board support. “The raised counter offers an opportunity to enjoy the view, rather than just the kitchen,” he says, noting that he prefers curved or circular seating to straight-line seating to encourage conversation and enhance the social aspects of dining. The curved countertop, with its nearly 5.5’ radius, also controls traffic flow into the kitchen.
The focal point of the kitchen is inarguably the range hood, which features a BEST ventilation unit. The maple hood is accented with architectural details that include raised panels and decorative corbels. “The corbels aren’t necessary for support, but they add a clean, mantel-type element to the area, without being fussy,” says White.
Overcome Storage Concerns
Design challenges included everything from the open floor plan and sloped ceiling to the awkward niche at the back of the kitchen. “The open floor plan meant we had very little wall space for wall cabinets,” he says, drawing attention to the fact that there are just two glass-front cabinets, each accented with “mug shelves” that allow the homeowners to keep frequently used items handy, without occupying counter space. “The remaining wall space was quickly eaten up with the refrigerator and the hood so we had to make sure we had all the right functional storage built into the cabinets below the counter.”
As such the custom cabinetry from Bentwood Kitchens – which were painted a warm buttermilk and accented with sage green bead board interiors where visible – were selected with storage in mind. Along the exterior wall, wide, deep drawers accommodate pots and pans. Narrow pull-out cabinets, designed to look like apothecary drawers, flank the dual-fuel Wolf range and provide storage for spices. Additional appliances along the exterior wall include a Sharp microwave drawer, Wolf wall oven and integrated Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer with arch-top doors that provide an armoire-style design.
The granite-topped L-shaped island, which is 9.5’ in each direction, was designed with function in mind. One “branch” provides ample storage for platters, serving trays and extra sets of dishes and doubles as a buffet serving area for entertaining. A lighted furniture-style display cabinet with arched glass doors provides a finishing touch. “This end faces the living room,” he notes. “We wanted an attractive foreground focal point so that when you look into the kitchen from the living room, your eye pauses, giving you the feeling that you’re looking at more than just the end of the kitchen cabinets.”
The second “branch” houses a Franke apron sink, waste/recycling containers, integrated Bosch dishwasher and additional drawer storage. An open book case at this end showcases the sage green bead board interior.
Bring it all together
The niche at the end of the kitchen is fitted with the refrigerator/freezer and pantry, which features extra-deep, 36” slide-out shelves. A custom-designed, wood-topped alder hutch, stained in a complementary hue with matching sage green interior, was placed on the side of the pantry, facing into the kitchen. It features glass front cabinets for display as well as bi-fold solid doors to conceal small appliances.
Additional storage is included in a small bar area adjacent to the kitchen, which features complementary cabinetry and a Sub-Zero wine cooler and refrigerator drawers.
The remaining challenge, the sloped tongue and groove ceiling, was solved by varying the height of the cabinets and crown moulding. “The easy solution would have been to leave open space above the cabinets,” he says, adding that the ceiling was only 88” high on the back wall. “But we didn’t like the look, nor did we want a ‘dust collector.’ Instead, we made the cabinets as tall as possible, filling in the remaining space with multi-layered moulding that went up to the ceiling.”
Overcoming obstacles while highlighting opportunities resulted in a kitchen that provides the homeowners with a “great place to cook, eat and entertain while enjoying the fabulous view,” he says. “The design stands out because everything comes together to create a beautiful, yet functional space, everything from the functional aspects of the cabinetry and floor plan all the way through to the selection of finishes in the cabinets, countertops and tile.”
- Mark T. White, CKD, CBD, and owner of Kitchen Encounters, Annapolis, MD, worked with Debra Lysy, interior designer and owner of Lysy Interior Designs in Sedona, AZ, and Greg Lauer Custom Homes, also in Annapolis, to create a casual, yet sophisticated space that takes advantage of the river view.
- White overcame several design challenges, including an open floor plan which left little in the way of upper cabinet storage, a sloped ceiling and an awkward niche in the back of the kitchen.
- Architectural details – including a maple wood hood, a lighted display cabinet with arched doors and a sage green interior and a custom-designed alder hutch – add to the design.
- A raised quarter-circle countertop, which is topped with hand-hewn alder and accented with a sage green bead board support, offers an opportunity to enjoy the view, rather than just the kitchen.
- Professional-quality appliances include a Sub-Zero integrated refrigerator/freezer, wine cooler and refrigerator drawers, a Wolf dual-fuel range and wall oven, a Sharp microwave drawer, a Bosch integrated dishwasher and a BEST ventilation unit.
Photos: Michael Gullon, Phoenix Photographic