Dark Secret | Page 2 of 3

Dark Secret

Three homeowners see kitchen cabinetry in a different light

| Published:

Colonial Times

The dark cabinets resemble furniture, while a glass and aluminum wall and pale granite lighten things up in the Gordons' Bethesda kitchen. Photo by Michael K. Wilkinson Like most older homes, Glennon and Jesse Gordon’s 1920s center-hall colonial in Bethesda had a small galley kitchen.

“It was literally the size of a closet and was sort of stuck onto the back of the house,” says Glennon, a psychotherapist who works in Tenleytown.

Glennon and her husband, who’s the owner and creative director at Three of Change, a Web and graphics design company in Bethesda, wanted a renovation that preserved the spirit of their old neighborhood and an addition that seamlessly connected to the old part of the home. More importantly, they wanted an efficient, light-filled kitchen that would link to the family room, where daughters Nola, 7, and Lily, 9; dog Maple; and cat Max could spend quality time together.

In 2009, the couple enlisted Studio CrowleyHall, a Washington, D.C.-based architecture firm, to execute the plan.

Part of a larger renovation that doubled the size of the house, the kitchen and dining room are in the same place as before. But husband and wife architects Michael Hall and Anne Crowley removed a wall to open up the space. Then they focused on the cabinets, around which the Gordons wanted to build the kitchen. The couple chose flat-panel maple doors with a dark stain.

“It’s more of a furniture look,” Hall says. “There is an interest in making kitchens appear more like finished cabinetry and part of the main house, especially as you make the kitchen open to other living spaces.”

 Jesse and Glennon Gordon, and their children, Nola, 7, and Lily, 9, love how the space brings them together. Photo by Darren HigginsDespite having ceilings little over 7 feet, the open plan and a translucent glass and aluminum wall that brings in light make the room feel larger. “If you’re using these dark woods, you have to do something to lighten them up,” Hall says.

The architects used light-colored granite countertops, a white porcelain sink and a frosted-glass tile backsplash for contrast. They also wrapped the island with a white-painted wall that “lightens things up a bit,” Hall says. “Keeping a nice light color made it pop a bit more.”

Glennon credits the open plan with making the interior feel bigger than it is.

“It is absolutely perfect for entertaining,” she says. “Because we’ve done this renovation, we volunteer to have Thanksgiving at our house. It’s actually a better space to entertain than my parents’ house” in Chevy Chase.

“I would even go as far as to say that it’s brought us closer together as a family because we can all be in one space,” she adds. “It feels very good to be able to do that—to be in one space and not be separated all over the house.”

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