Project Spotlight: Finished Kitchen Remodel Complete with Wet Bar & Space-Saving Features
Nestled at the northernmost point in the historic district of Cleveland Park in Washington, DC, this home was built in 1906. From the street, it appears as a single-family detached home—however, it is, in fact, a unique semi-detached house built back-to-back with the attached rear house fronting onto Highland Place NW. Beautifully maintained and lovingly restored, the homeowners, an empty-nest couple, were ready for a new kitchen to meet their functional requirements and aesthetic preferences better.
The kitchen had been remodeled by a previous owner, and the couple felt it was time to give their kitchen a personal update. They enjoyed preparing meals together but felt that the work area in the existing island kitchen was too tight and did not provide enough storage. They sought to maximize the working space and add roll-out shelving and pull-out trash/recycling—all with a more transitional design. Additionally, they asked that the wall cabinets reach the 8’-8” ceiling.
They also decided that their under-used built-in desk in the breakfast area should be replaced with a new custom wet bar and beverage refrigerator.
The existing kitchen had a small island with a gas cooktop and downdraft exhaust, which the homeowners didn’t like because it trapped cooking odors due to poor extraction and lacked set space. The remainder of the old kitchen was short on prep space due to varying counter heights and countertop appliances.
Floor Plan Changes
Oftentimes, small floor plan adjustments can make big improvements to the function and aesthetics of a space. This kitchen is unique because it has three access points that use up valuable space: one from the exterior rear door, one from the dining room, and one from the living room. There was a triple-set door that had a center operable door that swung open into the breakfast table. To remedy this inconvenience, the design team created a new triple-set door with the in-swing door to the left and out of the way of the breakfast table. The new door location also improved the circulation path from the back deck through the kitchen. And the Weather Shield brand doors enhance comfort in the winter months and provide low-maintenance with aluminum exterior cladding.
We added a wing wall next to the wet bar and a new cased opening leading into the vestibule to give the powder room more privacy. These small changes also improved a passageway between the dining room and the kitchen.
In the design phase, we explored options for both kitchen islands and peninsulas. Ultimately, the most efficient design was a large peninsula with a “U” configuration that provides generous walkabout space and additional base cabinets. The 42” wall cabinets maximize the space provided by the 8’-8” ceiling and leave room enough for an elegant crown molding above.
Almost every change we made in the kitchen was to maximize use of the space. The south wall of the kitchen abutted the main staircase of the house where the previous kitchen remodel had furred out the wall 6” to 8” and sacrificed valuable space. With careful design and construction, we utilized the additional space for the new kitchen. We placed custom base cabinets with a pull-out lazy susan and another base cabinet with a hydraulic lift for a heavy mixer in the dead space of each corner to the “U” shaped kitchen. To free up the base cabinets, we designed a pull-out wall cabinet spice rack.
The Woodharbor cabinets sport two different paint colors. The working “U” portion of the kitchen is painted Benjamin Moore Designer White, while the perimeter wall cabinets and wet bar are Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray.
The clients were eager to have quality materials without being ostentatious; understated was the theme throughout. For the countertops in the heavy-use area, dark Virginia Mist granite was a good fit for ease of care, and it looks great thanks to its contrasting darker color with wispy veins of white. For easy clean-up, integral drainboard grooves were cut into the granite stone countertop to the right of the stainless steel undermount sink. Water drains to the sink from wet dishes as it should.
At the perimeter, we designed 12” deep base and wall cabinets for additional storage with a tall cabinet for glassware. The ambrosia maple countertop here provides a textural contrast to the granite used in the work area, and the stained wood countertop provides variety with the painted cabinetry. Both the cabinet and countertop in this area were curved with a knife edge to ease the transition into the kitchen from the living room.
Kitchen Backsplash Tile
Initially, for the backsplash, the clients thought about a standard white subway tile to keep in sync with their aesthetic preferences. Our design team suggested a variation on a subway tile by Ann Sacks, called Savoy Rice Paper, which is slightly larger than a normal subway tile and has variegation in its glazed edges. The client loved this tile’s understated beauty and chose it over the standard subway tile.
The homeowners’ kitchen floor was already heated with hot water radiant heat—a luxury installed just for the kitchen by a previous owner. To take advantage of the warm floor, we installed a 12” x 24” large format porcelain floor tile in slate gray. It is easy to care for and lovely to walk on in bare feet. This functionality also has its own thermostat, making it simple to adjust.
Inspired by a large ash tree on their property, the client wanted to use a natural wood countertop for their bespoke wet bar. After careful consideration, ash wood lost out to a preferred ambrosia maple which proved to be a beautiful selection. Both the wet bar countertop and backsplash were custom-built by Wentworth carpenters, showcasing the ambrosia maple at its finest.
The homeowners selected all new stainless steel appliances. The dishwasher, refrigerator, dual fuel gas range, and microwave drawer are all from Thermador. The range hood is by Elica and the beverage refrigerator at the wet bar is from U-Line. The new appliances that should serve them well for a very long time.
New recessed lighting was installed throughout the kitchen and breakfast area. Under-wall cabinet lighting provides ample task lighting. The husband, who hails from Corning, New York felt loyalty to the Corning Glass Company – contacted an artist in Corning who works in glass and ordered three custom pendant lights to be hung over their kitchen peninsula; which will replace the simple clear glass ones installed during construction.
A Thoughtful Remodel
In the end, the ash wood reappeared in the form of a custom breakfast table specially sized to fit the space. Designed for expansion with table leaves, it can accommodate the homeowners’ children when they visit and their future grandchildren!
Looking for a kitchen remodel that is customized to your needs and thoughtful to a T? Wentworth is the team for you. Contact us a now to schedule a consultation for your remodel in the Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Washington, DC area!
Design and construction by Wentworth
Project designer and architect: Michael Merschat, AIA
Lead carpenter: Eric Plummer
Production Manager: Steven Barnard