As an interior designer, Ashley Powell, Allied ASID, DSID, knows potential when she sees it. So, the first time she toured her future home on Oakwood’s west side, she recognized its promise. The breezy, circular flow spoke to her, even if the nearly 100-year-old house needed some major updates. “It’s a gorgeous home, and the original floor plan made so much sense,” says Ashley. “But it needed a lot of work.”
After purchasing the 1922 American Colonial in 2017, the Powells set about creating “lots of dust.” Within their first year, they made significant renovations to the living room, sitting room, dining room, and multiple bathrooms. But in the kitchen, the homeowners did more than give a drab space a facelift. They breathed new life into it.
Claiming their space
“Interior design is 80% problem solving and 20% design,” Ashley notes.
Thus, to bring her vision to light, Ashley first needed to tackle the kitchen’s structural deficits. She worked with Brennan Pascoe of Next Stage Home Solutions, and Vicki Waker, DSID, owner of Cabinet Creations, Inc., to add capacity and improve flow.
The team claimed much-needed storage and counter space by removing part of a powder room that butted into the kitchen. They also eliminated the soffits, enabling Ashley to take the cabinets to the ceiling for more vertical storage. And by ditching a 60-inch, side-by-side commercial refrigerator and freezer, the team created room for a five-burner, duel-fuel La Cornue range and custom hood, which is as much a work of art as an appliance.
One of Ashley’s favorite pieces is a large armoire/pantry with pocket doors and a marble countertop. The family’s everyday items and countertop appliances are housed here, within easy reach but hidden away when not in use.
“I love having this work zone that I can completely close up when we are done meal prepping,” says Ashley. “The customized storage is so efficient.”
Ashley was also very purposeful in how she designed the flow to the kitchen. She wanted as much seating around the island as possible. However, there is only room for one on the work side.
“It’s great for entertaining because I can be active in the conversation while continuing to host and keep everyone happy!” Ashley says.
“I hear so often from clients that they want their guests to feel welcome, but they also want them blocked from their space,” adds Waker. “When I’m setting up kitchens for clients, I remind them everything needs to be defined.”
Deceptively effortless elegance
When it came to finishing the kitchen, Ashley knew from the start what she wanted: timeless elegance inspired by the French contemporary aesthetic. The effect is a refined, yet effortless feel. But achieving that sense of presence required quite a bit of strategy.
For example, Ashley wanted the look of raw white oak on her cabinetry, but the color is typically altered during the finishing process. So, she worked with the cabinet maker to create a custom glaze and wash that would preserve the wood’s natural coloring. She also selected a honed, rather than polished, finish for the Imperial Danby marble on her countertops, island and backsplash.
“The shine of polished marble can make a kitchen feel more formal and I wanted it to feel more casual,” Ashley explains.
Pairing the wood with the creamy, ethereal marble adds warmth, while the statement pendants and expert mixing of metals lend finesse. The Marvin casement push-out windows and French doors flood the space with natural light. Open shelves, another feature that Ashley loves, offer a relaxed, airy counterpoint.
“Ashley’s sense of taste keeps the space timeless,” says Waker. “You can dress this kitchen up or you can dress it down. It’s very classy and very comfortable.”
The aesthetic is carried over into the cozy butler’s pantry, where Ashley selected a classic white door/drawer cabinet style. She decided to recreate the butler’s pantry in an aesthetic more historically in line with the near 100-year-old home. This was an effort to nod to the home’s architectural history while still ushering in the modern era. Windows flank the doorframe between the kitchen and pantry, opening the space up while allowing it to maintain its own identity. Ashley enjoys this area, because her two boys can work at the desk while she’s in the kitchen.
Loving every second
The design strikes a flawless balance between relaxed and chic, creating a space that manages to be both intimate and spacious. The Powell kitchen is equally suited to formal entertaining or cozying up to the island with coffee and a friend.
Remodeling projects of any size can be stressful—especially for kitchens. And applying an artist’s eye to your own projects can be a challenge. But that did not prove to be the case for Ashley.
“It was so easy and so fun,” she says. “There was so much positive energy. I loved every second of it.”
RESOURCES Contractor Brennan Pascoe, Next Stage Home Solutions; Kitchen designer Vicki Waker, DSID, Cabinet Creations, Inc.; Interior designer Ashley Powell, Allied ASID, DSID, Luken Interiors; Windows Marvin, Marsh Building Products; Lighting Visual Comfort, Luken Interiors; Kitchen cabinetry Cabinetry by Provines; Countertops and backsplash Honed Imperial Danby marble, Mees, The Stone Studio; Sink Create Good Sinks; Faucet Waterstone Faucets, Carr Supply; Furniture Hickory Chair, Luken Interiors; Hardwood flooring Tom Helwig; Appliances Bosch dishwasher; Sub-Zero refrigerator, Appliance Gallery; Oven La Cornue; Paint Benjamin Moore
Article by Bethany Reiff/Photos by Daniel Feldkamp
Article originally appeared in Housetrends Dayton – March/April 2020
To see another kitchen with elegant details, search: Perfectly happy in Powell