They say history repeats itself.
n this case, interior designer Katherine Crosby of Jenkins Baer Associates found herself updating a kitchen and refreshing a great room for a blended family of seven, with children ranging in age from 10 to 21, whom she had helped move into the same Lutherville home in 2013.
“My client had younger children at the time but had always intended to remodel the kitchen, which was very angular with an awkward island that jutted into the middle of the space,” she says. “It also had very limited natural light.”
Crosby worked with Delbert Adams Construction Group to draw up plans for a complete redo. In addition to squaring off the kitchen’s footprint, Crosby added two large windows on either side of the range in place of a small off-centered one. Custom cabinets by Sunnyfields were added throughout as well as a large pantry, paneled refrigerators and a built-in desk area. There is also now a bar-height island that runs horizontally in the space, connecting the kitchen to the adjacent great room while adding spatial definition. A secondary prep island, with a sink, sits closer to the range and sink.
“[In this family, they] are all great cooks and definitely needed improved storage and work surfaces as well as a better flow between them,” she adds.
The countertops and backsplash are finished in a durable Taj Mahal quartzite with gray veining. For cabinetry, Crosby selected inset-paneled cabinetry with the beveled edges on the inside for tight, clean reveals between cabinet doors. The drawers are all lined in walnut and have customized storage features for items like prep knives and spice jars. The palette is white and gray, and the design feels modern and refreshed while timeless and classic.
“Previously, the kitchen flooring was a tan ceramic tile, with an awkward raised threshold, while the rest of the space was in an impractical dark-stained oak, which showed every scratch and scrape,” Crosby says.
For a measure of economy, the client decided to keep the flooring in he great room in the same 5-inch-wide oak while adding matched boards to the kitchen area. Then everything was finished in a white-gray wash for consistency.
“The refinished flooring became the anchor and touch point for the project,” she says, adding that the new wood floors that were better suited to the family’s busy lifestyle as well as a conduit for the overall décor.
“In general, we wanted a light, open and integrated space, so we removed a lot of the overly ornate traditional woodwork on the TV cabinetry wall in the adjacent great room as well as on the columns,” she says. “All the ‘frosting’ came off, and we paired down the architectural elements to feature simpler, cleaner lines.”
The great room’s TV cabinetry wall now runs up to the ceiling line whereas before it cut off halfway up tothe double-height ceilings. Along with its stylish linear moldings, the new feature commands attention as a strong focal point in the room.
The paint also went from dark brown to light gray, and the once brown-and-white busy coffered ceiling is now finished in a washed tonal cedar with beamed details. The large Palladian transom was replaced by a rectilinear one to bring in natural light.
“For the furniture and lighting, we also leaned to clean, contemporary lines but with soft inviting fabrics,” says Crosby, referencing the chunky chenille, woven wool and cable-knit textiles.
There are plenty of seating options in the great room for lounging: a roomy sofa, a low-profile daybed (by the window with views onto the green spaces of the Waterford Preserve) and a pair of armchairs set about an over-scale oak coffee table with an antique mirrored top. The palette continues in grays and whites with touches of blue in accents. A mix of brass, iron and antique silver metals gives the space more interest and a curated touch. The new floor-to-ceiling windows also better connect the space with the exterior, which was of great importance in the remodel.
“The space functions beautifully now when the family is all together,” Crosby adds. “All seven of them can be together without being on top of each other. Some cook, some sit at the bar working, others watch TV or chat. It’s also large enough to accommodate holiday gatherings comfortably with even more family and friends.”
Photography by Mitch Allen