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Bright, shiny, open and airy, the kitchen has been reinvented.

Featured Article

Let There Be Light

An Eclectic Kitchen Remodel Combines Traditional and High-Tech Design to Create a Dream Home

Whether buying a new or previously owned home, most people embrace its charms and yet dream of the day when they can make it truly their own. The buyer of the home featured here was no exception. Yes, the original decor was acceptable and even handsome, but he wanted something else—something timeless. Specifically, he wanted his home to be a castle. Obviously, that can mean different things to different people, and a moat certainly was not in the offing. Nonetheless, that was the inspiration for the project, and it was up to Eastside designer Amanda George of Amanda George Interior Design to help him realize his vision.

Choices, Choices

The first decision was to have a light palette, or as Amanda put it, “white on white on white.” Surprisingly, she says, whites are hard to match, so the challenge was to use that palette while adding texture or complementary color for interest. For example, the backsplash is made with high-polished chrome elements, which lends it to being paired with a light gray (rather than white) quartz countertop. The tidy installation of under-cabinet modular power strips rather than standard electrical outlet cover plates keeps the focus on the beauty of the material. The strips, which come in lengths from 12 to 36 inches and various configurations, also allow for customization for specific power needs such as USB ports for charging cell phones or other devices.

Another big priority was the desire for a high-gloss floor as seen in some European castles and villas. The choice was to use highly polished white porcelain tiles (30-by-30 feet) in a diamond pattern throughout. These tiles are made with through-body color rather than being glazed and provide a deeply reflective surface for the under-cabinet lighting.

The Lighting’s the Thing

The owner actually brought the lighting he liked to one of the design meetings, and he and Amanda worked on where to put it and which surfaces it would work best with. There is a control module (the circular rainbow dial in the photo) for each level: soffit, over-cabinet, under-cabinet and bar area. Each module allows for an array of colors and programmability. There’s an app that can be used to control the lighting, or it can also be managed with Alexa. For example, one could say, “Alexa, turn on home from work,” and a specific lighting scheme would come on, Amanda says. The homeowner is big on holiday ornamentation, and this fits right in with his desire to decorate for such occasions.

Although there is a stamped tin ceiling in other parts of the home that could have been extended into the kitchen, the homeowner opted for simplicity. Still, the theme of luster is promoted through the use of crystal pulls on the glass-faced cabinetry and crystal chandeliers that reflect nicely in the polished flooring. The metallic chrome backsplash and lit glass shelves in the cabinetry also refract light and add sparkle and texture. The solely decorative glass-faced cabinet doors above the refrigerator use 1-inch beveled panes rather than wood. A commercial-grade stove vent hood that is installed flush with the ceiling keeps the overall look open and clean.

The owner wanted new appliances as well, and the kitchen features a 36-inch commercial gas range in the island along with a 48-inch stainless-steel refrigerator. The under-cabinet lighting showcases this area as well.

Kitchen Remodel…Plus

The remodel carries over into the living room and adjacent hallways, where the polished porcelain flooring continues. Amanda notes that getting the tiles to line up along the centerline of the hallway was laborious but worth the effort. In the living room, the porcelain flooring replaced the original hardwood, and the fireplace received a facelift with a new mantel and hearth. The entertainment cabinet next to the fireplace, originally intended for a television set, was turned into a glass-faced curio cabinet with modular lighting as used in the kitchen.

Home at Last

It is said that a man’s home is his castle, and now this owner has his. Is he happy with the result? When she asked him about this, Amanda says he responded that every day when he walks into his house, it makes him smile.

“It’s like Christmas.”

If one can keep that spirit year-round, mission accomplished.

  • The “before” photo. There’s nothing wrong with it, per se, but it wasn’t what the owner wanted.
  • Bright, shiny, open and airy, the kitchen has been reinvented.
  • The modular lighting can be as dramatic or subtle as one desires.
  • The modular lighting can be as dramatic or subtle as one desires.
  • The polished chrome backsplash is complemented by the light gray quartz countertop. Note the under-cabinet modular power strip installation.
  • Even the island lights up and showcases the new commercial-grade gas stove.
  • Beveled glass panes were used in the over-refrigerator cabinets rather than wood to keep the look light.
  • Installing the floor tiles along the hallway centerline took some effort, but the result was worth it.
  • The sheen and subtle diamond pattern in the porcelain tile flooring are more visible from this angle.
  • The control modules for the lighting allow individualized color schemes for each space to fit the mood.
  • Strategically placed chandeliers add to the elegance of the design.
  • The remodel carried over into the living room, with the new flooring, hearth, mantel and glass-faced curio cabinet.