New-Build Kitchen Design Has Trick Up Its
By Barbara Capella Loehr
WINTER PARK, FL Do you believe in magic? Well, the owners of this
kitchen, located here, certainly do. In fact, magic is their life
at least for the husband, who is both a national motivational
speaker and a magician for major corporations by trade.
That’s why it was key for Julie Thompson, CKD, to not only
incorporate optimum functionality and a beautiful style into this
kitchen, but also to convey a sense of magic, whimsy and
Indeed, when Thompson signed on to design this kitchen, her
clients knew exactly what they wanted, and she worked very closely
with the husband, who had some specific requests to accommodate
both his magical and musical requests.
“It made for quite an interesting project,” notes Thompson. For
example, the kitchen itself pulls double duty as a disco during
parties the couple throws, while the nearby magic room is full of
surprises the husband uses to entertain up to 40 guests at
According to Thompson, the couple made initial contact with
Decorá to supply cabinetry for the entire home, and that’s
how she was tapped for this project.
In addition to being an independent designer with her own firm,
Julie Thompson Design, in Huntingburg, IN, she has also done a fair
amount of work during the last 15 years for the project’s cabinetry
supplier, Decorá, and for other companies under the umbrella
of Decorá’s parent company, MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc.
As a result, she not only designed the kitchen, but also had a
hand in the aforementioned magic room, along with the great room,
dining room, master bedroom and bath. All of these rooms are part
of the home the couple had built here to start their new life as
husband and wife and begin a family of their own.
This home was a “a major production for my clients,” says
Thompson. “They wanted a home that could accommodate the family
they eventually wanted, but the husband was also planning to make
it showcase for his work. So the home also had to accommodate
entertaining corporate clientele hence the 40-person magic
NOW YOU SEE IT
Thompson began her kitchen
design with a sleight of hand that enabled the kitchen to be
transformed into a dance floor for guests, per the clients’
She designed a moveable island that has a butcher-block top, a
simple vanity drawer and an open bottom shelf on four legs, all set
on casters. It can be stowed away in the kitchen’s walk-in food
pantry to allow guests to dance the night away on the ceramic tile
floor, under the lighted, revolving disco ball installed in the
The island features Sherwood green accents, as well as granite
countertops and Decorá Lexington Cherry cabinetry with
Brandywine finish and coffee glaze. This striking island, in
combination with the tile floor, helps to anchor the natural Tuscan
feel the couple wanted in the kitchen, says Thompson.
She amped up the Tuscan feel in the adjacent great room and
dining room through the draperies and furnishings, but anchored it
to the kitchen design through the continued use of the same
cabinetry seen in the kitchen. The magic room, hidden behind a set
of double doors in the great room, also features an amped-up
“Tuscan Carnival” feel anchored by the same cabinetry, only with
Jet Black accents.
Thompson used the same cabinetry style, finish and glaze in all
four rooms, along with and matching ornate moldings, turnings and
onlays, to tie the kitchen and other rooms together.
The kitchen also features a cooking area that has drawers to
hold pots and pans, and 6″ open shelves for easy access to cooking
spices, utensils and other items. A bookcase installed nearby
allows the couple’s cookbook collection to be at the couple’s
“The husband does not like to eat out because he is on the road
so much for work, so cooking was very important in this kitchen,”
explains Thompson. To that end, in terms of cooking functionality,
the same area features a DACOR range, a DACOR wall oven and a DACOR
built-in microwave with matching trim kit. A DACOR hood liner was
installed underneath a decorative furniture hood made from matching
cabinetry and rough plaster to add to the Tuscan feel and create a
focal point, says Thompson.
She installed a corner sink in the cooking area, plus a Miele
fully integrated dishwasher and 48″ GE Monogram refrigerator with
matching cabinetry panels next to the main double sink. She allowed
for lots of countertop space on either side of the sink for prep
work and clean up.
The kitchen is open on one side and features a raised curved bar
fashioned from matching base cabinets and granite tops that
overlooks the great room. This room is filled with matching
Decorá cabinetry built into the wall, plenty of theatrical
draperies and three balconies where the couple can toast their
guests. The dining room, also featuring matching Decorá
cabinetry, is located off the kitchen.
“The design is very open so that guests can interact with the
couple in the kitchen,” notes Thompson.
Just beyond the kitchen and great room sits the magic room,
where the husband can “wow” his clients with sleight of hand and
optical illusions. It, too, features theatrical flair as seen in
the room’s stage, furnishings, draperies and matching Decorá
cabinetry with said black accents. The cabinetry also conceals a
host of magical surprises, such as a floating wine bottle,
animatronic monkeys and a revolving bookcase leading to an upstairs
tower room that overlooks a lake, notes Thompson.
BATHING IN LUXURY
Thompson continued the
Tuscan feel in the couple’s master bedroom and bath, focusing on
creating a luxurious feel, particularly in the master bath.
The cherry cabinetry with a coffee glaze is similar to the
cabinetry used in the kitchen and other rooms, but it features
Decorá’s Kingston styling with a Suede finish. This time she
applied “partial overlay doors as opposed to the full overlay doors
in the kitchen,” Thompson notes.
“The bath was meant to be luxurious, like a great hotel bath,
but better,” she says. To that end, Thompson created a
furniture-feel vanity area with Kohler Vintage series sinks at
kitchen countertop height with vanity depth. It sits between a
walk-in shower and a whirlpool tub set into a corner with two
windows topped with theatrical drapery. Additionally, she created a
matching make-up area using the same cabinetry.
The bath also has a separate room with a toilet and bidet for
DIM ALL THE LIGHTS
Because the husband is a magician and stages performances at home,
lighting was key to not only the kitchen and the master bath, but
to all of the rooms especially the magic room, Thompson points
There’s plenty of natural light, streaming in from both the
large window installed above the main double sink in the kitchen,
as well as from the adjacent great room’s large expanse of glass on
one wall. However, this is enhanced by an all-digital lighting
system that the husband had specifically installed.
It controls every light source in the home, from the lighting
fixtures above the raised, curved bar in the kitchen to the
chandelier in the master bath, Thompson concludes.