kitchen: a modern makeover – part 1

kitchen: a modern makeover – part 1
written by David

The Taylor’s, Chip and Deanna are MODERN.  As you enter, through the two-story open foyer of, their beautiful Northern Virginia home you are greeted by a mix of bold modern colors.  Round the first corner and to the left, down 2-steps, is the sunken living room; all dark wood, black leather, glass and granite… and to the right the 15 year-old, original to the house, COUNTRY KITCHEN.  Yes, there it is in all its “Country Glory”, right there in the middle of the floor, in the middle of the house, an all WHITE Country Kitchen… white cabinets, white bead-board sides and white appliances.  Even the light blue Corian Counter Top has a white background.  Not that they haven’t tried to modern-it-up some.  I mean, they did remove the large silver rooster drawer and cabinet pulls, that were on the cabinets when the bought the place, in favor of some sleek round brushed nickel pulls.  The counters contain modern brushed stainless steel small appliances. But still…underneath it all the kitchen screams COUNTRY!  Well , you guessed it, the kitchen has to go!   More on the overall kitchen renovation in Part Duex.

But first…

The Taylor’s, love to entertain.  In fact, before they started their family they would throw the most amazing Super Bowl parties this side of a host city.

Mission 1: Convert a section of hand rail, that acts a visual and physical break between the kitchen and the sunken living room, into a bar rail.  A bar rail with seating for 3 or 4 and large enough to act as a buffet during large gatherings.  Create a space that seeks to join the kitchen and the living room not separate them. Finally, create a built-in piece that has a decidedly modern edge while still maintaining the sense of scale, size and balance established with the existing trim and finishes throughout the house.  Easy, right!

The brilliance:

  • Remove the handrail top, cut the spindles down to a height of 3 inches.
  • Reinstall the handrail as a foot rest and top it with a narrow band of  brushed stainless steel.
  • Construct a recessed panel half-newel at the wall to match the existing newel.
  • Construct an 18″ deep bar top complete with an appliance grade brushed stainless steel surface.
  • Trim the kitchen-side of the bar with natural oak, finished to match the floors.  Seal the oak face with 3 hand-rubbed coats of Minwax Tung Oil Finish (I love this stuff…it provides an amazing natural water repellent finish).
  • Create a recessed panel face, to match the newels, on the living room side of step down.
  • Add some cool pendant lighting above the bar rail.
  • Manage to make the new bar area look like an inviting and integral part of a new modern kitchen and living room.

and, the finished product…



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