House Beautiful (USA)
The Good Place
Big windows, a new layout, and three different cabinet colors give this kitchen a heavenly glow.
IT ALL STARTED WITH the stove. Alison Giese’s Arlington, Virginia, clients selected their kitchen’s centerpiece—a Lacanche range in a deep, dusky gray—before hiring the designer to oversee a top-to-bottom overhaul of the ’90s-era space. “Their take was, ‘We know this is going to be an investment. We want to do things right the first time,’ ” Giese recalls. “They were willing to do high-end appliances to get the kitchen they wanted.”
Giese went on to curate a sumptuous material palette to match the handcrafted French range: brass hardware, bespoke oak cabinetry, stone countertops. But before any of this could be actualized, the floor plan needed fixing. “The working area was all crammed into one side of the space, and they really didn’t know what to do with the other half,” Giese explains. So she came up with three distinct zones to place along the room’s perimeter, doubling the functionality without compromising flow. Custom cabinetry in three tones, designed by Tanya Smith
Shiflett of Unique Kitchens and Baths, anchors each section.
A cooking area, complete with a maple-wood island stained charcoal brown, takes center stage along the back wall. To its left, dishware shelves and a paneled refrigerator are hidden behind olive-green cabinetry embellished with arches that echo the curved range hood. And where there was formerly dead space, the designers installed what they call a “morning bar,” which houses the husband’s requested smoothie station, as well as a coffeemaker and wine fridge (for mimosas, natch) in handsome white oak.
For practicality’s sake, pocket doors on the cabinets disappear when open so everyday items are easily accessible, and slide closed when company comes to call. Giese says her clients “still send messages that say, ‘We’re living our best life in this space!’ ”