A serving center made from KraftMaid cabinets and a DuPont Zodiaq countertop is a practical and attractive addition to the kitchen.
Once kitchens were strictly low-tech, functional spaces churning out pot roasts and gobbling up dirty
dishes. Bathrooms, too, were purely practical—without body sprays, steam showers, and many of the
other modern-day bells and whistles we've come to rely on for relaxation. But times have changed, and these disparate spaces have morphed into rooms in which pleasure and convenience are part of the daily vernacular. A case in point: the beautiful kitchen and bathrooms in our spectacular American Home of the Year—a honey-hued, two-story stucco house designed by Schmitt Sampson Walker Architects and built by Kalman Construction on Daniel Island, South Carolina, a 4,000-acre spit of land situated between Charleston's Cooper and Wando rivers.
In the pantry, KraftMaid cabinets in Charcoal store food, china, and linens. Outfitted with KitchenAid appliances, DuPont Zodiaq counters, and an American Standard sink, it doubles as a prep area for parties.
The 340-square-foot kitchen is the home's hub—a central core where family and friends like to convene. The design is organized around a large central work island that divides the room into two distinct zones: a U-shaped area for cooking and a rectangular-shaped space for entertaining. The island, which contains the room's primary sink, functions as both an informal dining table and an expansive work surface. A raised ledge on the front of the island shields the sink and the cooking area beyond from the rest of the room, while providing a place for guests to congregate. "They can easily converse with the cook, but they don't have to look at a mess of dirty dishes," says James Walker, the principal architect on this major kitchen-bath project.
They can also gaze out at the home's lushly landscaped gardens and courtyard, thanks to Walker's judicious use of glass. The eating area is equipped with a pair of 8-foot-tall French doors that frame garden views and open to the home's interior courtyard. In the U-shaped work zone, the cabinet layout was configured to accommodate a pair of double-hung windows. The windows, which fall on either side of the cooktop, outline views of a small garden terrace. "We had to leave out some cabinets to make the design work," says Walker. "But kitchens are so much more pleasant when they're filled with lots of natural light."
A large island and counters topped with DuPont Zodiaq, a 48-inch gas cooktop from KitchenAid's Architect Series make meals for large groups a snap. Hunter Douglas window shades can be lowered to block out any sun.
To make up for the lost cabinet space, Walker added a generous 112-square-foot butler's pantry off the kitchen at the back of the house. Instead of using the pantry as the usual buffer between dining room and kitchen, he placed it between the kitchen and the family room near a door leading to the driveway. "It seemed like the most logical location," he says of the room's nontraditional placement. "Groceries can go from car to cupboard with very little effort."
In addition to holding a stash of sur supplies, the pantry—equipped with its own sink, dishwasher, 36-inch refrigerator, and wine cooler—doubles as a convenient staging area for dinner parties and other large-scale social functions. "It removes the mess from places where people are hanging out," explains builder Kevin Kalman.
Walker Zanger floor tile in a calming blue complements the pale yellow Benjamin Moore paint on the walls of the girl's bedroom and bath.
The task of finishing these sun-filled spaces at the back of the house fell to Ann Theriot and Julie O'Connor, the project's Charleston-based design team. To create a seamless transition between these rooms and the more formal spaces at the front of the house (see "Comfort is in the Details" in our March 2003 issue), O'Connor and Theriot selected a neutral color palette of creamy whites and calming browns. The limestone-tile floor, which continues from the front door to the back door, subtly grounds the house. In the kitchen, the soft-taupe tile is a tasteful complement to deep-charcoal cabinets, says O'Connor. Cream-colored Zodiaq counters and the stainless steel KitchenAid appliances complete the space, adding a contemporary edge to the room's classic looks.
For privacy and convenience, Walker worked the home's layout so that each bath, except the tiny first-floor powder room, connects to a bedroom. "It's simply a more comfortable arrangement," says Kalman. "Family and friends don't have to worry about sharing the bathroom or bumping into each other in the middle of the night."
Like the kitchen, these simple utilitarian spaces are designed to feel comfortable and inviting. Tile in a range of muted hues covers the floors, providing a serene setting for the dark-colored furniture-style cabinets and pale painted wall finishes chosen by Theriot and O'Connor to blend with materials used throughout the house. Windows, which feature prominently in the kitchen design, also make an appearance in every bath. "You can never have too much natural light," Walker says.
To extend the bedroom's cottage look to the bath, we covered the lower three-quarters of the wall in beadboard paneling from New England Classic.
In the guest bath, double doors by Masonite part to show a wall-mounted sink by Porcher that saves space without skimping on storage.
Because each of this second-floor bath's double vanities has only one sink, there's plenty of counter space for toiletries.
The master bath, the largest and most elaborate of the lot, is divided into three distinct parts (the water closet, the tub and shower room, and the dressing area) so that two people can comfortably use the space at the same time. Oversize proportions have also figured into Walker's plans for the baths that connect with the home's remaining two bedrooms and the guest suite over the garage. "These aren't gigantic rooms," he says, "but we increased their size slightly to make them more comfortable to navigate."
To give the master bath a spalike feel, he specified a large whirlpool tub with a wide ledge for storing lots of pampering paraphernalia, as well as a separate 4-by-6-foot shower with body sprays and steam. The other baths feature either a standard tub-with-shower combination or, as in the guest suite, a large shower with a bench. "Versatility is essential when you're creating spaces that could potentially be used by more than one person," says Kalman.
The one exception to our design team's classic-meets-contemporary decorating plan is the supermodern powder room just off the foyer. For this space, Theriot and O'Connor selected a stainless steel console-style sink and contemporary chrome faucet. "It's by far the edgiest space in the house," says Theriot, "but powder rooms are their own entity, so they can be a bit more playful."
|See Also: American Home of the Year|
|See Also: Comfort is in the Details (part 1)|