Warm colors and an expanse of shiny granite countertops that offer plenty of prep space for homemade sauces—this is a kitchen crafted with the good things in life in mind: family, friends and food. An elegant design that’s actually quite sturdy, this open culinary space was designed for every day use, and it’s not hard to picture the family gathered around the islands, perched on the stools as they catch each other up on the happenings of their respective days, delicious smells wafting through the cavernous space as the chef of the day waltzes back and forth from the prep island to the stove or oven, one ear on the food sizzling nearby and the other on the families’ chatter. “We spend 90 percent of our time in the kitchen and adjoining hearth room,” admits the wife of this busy family.
And it’s no wonder why. The open design flows effortlessly into the accompanying rooms, creating one large entertaining space suitable for anything. The family can easily transition from a home-cooked meal casually eaten around the kitchen islands to the cozy seating area at the far end of the space for a movie night. Or, if formal wear is the required attire of the evening, they can spend their evening in the dining area, enjoying the company and a delicious meal before finding a nightcap at the nearby wet bar.
From idea boards to reality
For a person that cooks every night, there were a lot of reasons to get this kitchen design perfect. It needed to be both functional and a pleasant place to wile away the hours; it was these driving factors that caused the owners to turn to professionals to help them transform their ideas into a tangible place. “I needed someone to give me help, and kind of guide me and lead me to what was there, and options that I didn’t know about,” says the wife of her decision to work with Darlene Somrak of Somrak Kitchens. “Darlene is so detailed, and she gave me such great ideas, and I just love her because everything was, ‘No problem, we can do that.’”
Darlene says, “She just walked in here and we hit it off, and we had like minds about the project.” She continues, “There was a lot of investigating, a lot of options and alternatives, before we settled on the right direction to go.”
Creamy cabinets converge in an L-shape, giving the kitchen a warm feel. “I don’t like the look of stainless steel,” admits the wife as she discusses the paneling that covers the refrigerator instead of the oft-seen stainless steel. A true working kitchen, the owners also opted to include a variety of appliances to aide in their culinary endeavors, all cleverly hidden in the same way as the refrigerator. “I like the look of a built-in,” says the wife. “So I did that with the dishwashers and the refrigerator and the refrigerated drawers and the warming drawer.”
When it came time to pick the furnishings, the wife turned to a trusted company that she’s worked with for over 20 years: Leopold’s Fine Home Furnishings. Working with Denise Krejci she was able to select home essentials that flattered the design from Somrak, ultimately creating the dream kitchen that the owners had been cataloging on their idea boards. “She always had pictures,” Darlene recalls fondly. “The first day she came in she showed me pictures.”
A decorative area rug and quartet of gorgeous columns helps to define the formal dining space. The pillars, while now a defining factor, were not exactly an optional choice to include—two of them are support columns, while the other two are merely decorative. “I wanted an open floor plan, and it keeps the house open, yet somehow those pillars designate the dining room to itself,” says the wife.
Matching chairs, except for the patterned ones at either end of the table, offer seating for up to 16 at the table, every bit of which, the wife says, they need when they host family gatherings and holiday parties. A pair of matching chandeliers dangles over the dark wood table adding light and luxury—and a little bit of bling.
In a nod to more sophisticated entertaining, the owners were sure to include a wet bar in the design. Stretching the width of the dining area, the dark cabinetry contrasts brilliantly with the light cabinetry seen in the kitchen, and instead matches the hue of the wood of the nearby entertainment center in the living area. The cabinetry also includes a slight bump out, something that Darlene says they opted to include to break up the long, straight line of cabinets. The wet bar includes everything needed for entertaining, from the basic glass storage to the more advanced addition of an ice maker, neatly hidden behind the gorgeous cabinetry.
Settling in for the night
A slight change in design aesthetics signifies the end of the dining areas, casual or otherwise, as the open design merges into the living area. The coffered ceiling overhead—missing from the formal dining space—returns, but with a beautiful dark twist in color. “We have 12-foot ceilings throughout the house,” say the wife on the decision to include coffered ceilings. “I really just like the look of it, and I felt it made it more cozy.”
The quaint seating area is the perfect place for the family to wind down their day as they migrate from the kitchen to the dining areas before eventually settling in for the evening.
Slow and steady
Despite being a two-year process filled with idea boards and multiple trips to showrooms, the owners couldn’t be happier with their new home, especially their open living space. “I worked on these blueprints for two years, you know, tweaking. And I’m so glad we did,” admits the wife. “I think we avoided things we would have made mistakes on had we done them quickly and been in a rush.”
Darlene agrees wholeheartedly, praising the timeline and relishing the challenges—things like the wife’s fondness of symmetry—that this project presented. “You spend the time to make it work. I like challenges. You know, I’ve only done this for 40 years,” she quips. “So every now and then you get a little bored, but to have a project that presents more challenges is fun.”
As it is, the family can’t wait to keep using their space, either on a daily basis with casual meals around the island, or entertaining family and friends in a more formal atmosphere. Whatever the scenario, you can rest assured, good food and good company will always pair well in this home.
Resources: Home builder: Steve Moore; Designer: Darlene Somrak, Somrak Kitchens; Interior designer: Denise Krejci, Leopold’s Fine Home Furnishings; Cabinetry: Somrak Kitchens; Flooring: Williams Flooring; Countertops: Granite; Travertine; Backsplash: Virginia Tile; Sink: Blanco, Famous Supply; Faucet: Delta Touch 20 Technology; Dishwashers: KitchenAid, Myers Appliance; Cooktop: Wolf, Myers Appliance; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero, Myers Appliance; Oven: Wolf, Myers Appliance; Lighting: Cleveland Lighting; Range hood: Omega Stone; Ice maker: Scotsman; Beverage cooler: U-Line