When it comes to adding real estate kudos to the home and, more importantly, improving one’s quality of life, a good kitchen remodel is worth its weight in an appraisal — and some. Kitchens are not only where people cook and dine, they are also where people relax, visit, work, study, read and entertain. Gone are the days of no guests in the kitchen! If considering a kitchen update, options are plentiful and these three Baltimore kitchens are full of aesthetically pleasing, fully functional features that will surely inspire.
The Right Blend
Interior Designer: Elizabeth Lawson
Photos by Jennifer Hughes
Located in historic Roland Park, this space was once a dark, cramped, dated galley kitchen, with linoleum countertops and flooring, and cheap laminate cabinetry. The young professional family who now live there hired interior designer Elizabeth Lawson to update the kitchen.
“The home is Victorian, with original moldings and trim, so we wanted the kitchen remodel to be fresh and up-to-date, but also to speak to the existing architecture and historic neighborhood,” Lawson says.
To everyone’s delight, original heart-of-pine floors were discovered beneath the old linoleum and refinished in a clear coat. The once closed-off kitchen was also structurally opened up to an adjacent dining room by the creation of a peninsula prep/breakfast bar. The resulting space has improved flow and natural light.
For building materials, Lawson selected a lightly veined white Carrara marble, with which she seamlessly wrapped the countertops and backsplashes, as well as creating a feature wall behind the stovetop in the classic stone.
“People are hesitant about marble because of staining, but the homeowners weren’t afraid,” Lawson says. “It does need re-sealing from time-to-time, but nothing compares to its timeless beauty.”
The kitchen’s new upper cabinets are painted crisp white, while the lower ones are painted in a high-contrast deep charcoal hue. Above, to the right of the sink, Lawson added open shelves to maintain an airy feel.
“We definitely struck the balance between traditional and updated,” says Lawson, adding, “The gold hardware, faucet and mid-century modern style light pendants are definitely contemporary, but the Shaker-style cabinets and farmhouse sink are more classic.”
Interior Designer: Stephanie Gamble
Photos by Jennifer Hughes
When a Baltimore County family asked interior designer Stephanie Gamble to remodel their kitchen, their wish list included a large island — and a separate cook top. The existing one had a dark granite counter, lower cherry cabinetry and a small stovetop, with a big stainless hood suspended above it, crowding the narrow room.
“My clients love to entertain their extended family. They wanted a proper functioning space, where the cook can be at the stove, or prepping food, but not be in the way,” Gamble says. “An island a lot of people could gather around or a few could enjoy an intimate meal.”
In addition to tearing out dated ceramic tile and dark cabinets, Gamble extended the kitchen into the backyard by 10-feet, allowing enough width to reorient and install a 10-foot by 5-foot island. It has Mystery White marble counters, a stainless prep sink and a walnut wood base.
“We felt that if everything was white, the kitchen would feel stark and cold. The walnut cabinetry and new hardwood floors bring warmth,” she says.
Gamble then created a range wall, with an encased hood, with architectural moldings. The range is a five-foot Wolf, with a pot-filler on the backsplash.
“For the backsplash, we picked a reflective, handmade tile in a grey tone. It has nice texture and depth,” she adds.
Possibly the most “wow” feature in the kitchen are the glass pendants naturally lighting the prized island.
“Everyone walks in and says ‘those pendants!’ They cast great light, and are so dramatic and interesting,” says Gamble of the globes, whose top halves are dipped mercury glass.
Interior Designer: Katherine Crosby
Photos by Jamie D. Sentz
It’s hard to imagine this Sparks kitchen was once burgundy, with maple cabinets, black granite counters and oddly angled walls at its farthest end.
“All we kept was the idea of a sink facing the window and a cook-top on the island, whose location we more or less kept,” says interior designer Katherine Crosby of Jenkins Baer Associates.
During the remodel, Crosby moved the overall kitchen layout toward the naturally lit dining area and then squared off the random architecture at its other end, creating a new walk-in pantry in the darkest part of the room.
“The pantry really allowed us to consolidate the cabinetry, which was so cluttered and choppy before. We did fewer but larger peripheral cabinets on either side of the island,” she adds.
The finish on the cabinets is special. Rather than going with typical all-white cabinetry, Crosby selected a glazed finish in a creamy white, which was wire brushed onto the mahogany cabinets, including the custom clad above-island hood.
“It’s a beautiful finish,” she says. “The grain shows through in places. That, and the reclaimed pine on the ceiling, add warmth. The couple wanted a timeless, traditional space, with new finishes, but also warmth and texture.”
The cabinets are complemented with Taj Mahal quartzite counters and oil-rubbed bronze hardware. The new island was widened to accommodate seating and has turned legs integrated into its base, feeling like a piece of furniture.
To the left of the apron sink, which sits beneath a new enlarged double window, are a full-sized paneled fridge and separate freezer (each three feet wide.)
On the opposite side, across the island, Crosby also designed a desk area for a homeowner who likes to work at home. It has airy upper glass cabinetry, below-cabinet lighting and a custom pushpin linen board.