Nifty Shades of Gray | Page 3 of 4

Nifty Shades of Gray

Open plans, clever storage and sophisticated neutral colors transformed the kitchens of four Bethesda-area homes

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The metal accessories are a nod to the homeowner’s fondness for industrial design. She chose “Iron Scaffold” leather stools from Restoration Hardware and steel pendant lights reminiscent of wooden bushel baskets. “I love to boat on the Chesapeake Bay,” she says, “so it’s a personal element that means a lot to me.” Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

Warm and Welcoming

Some things are worth the wait. The owner of this 1960s split-level in Kensington considered renovating the small kitchen and chopped-up first floor for almost 20 years before she took the plunge. After much research, planning and careful attention to the details, the remodel is finished. 

The kitchen renovation was part of a larger project with a connecting family room and screened porch. Her lifestyle is casual and she wanted a large, open and informal place to cook and entertain guests at the same time. The work triangle revolves around a 4½-by-8-foot center island.

A natural stone backsplash from Architectural Ceramics stretches to the ceiling on two walls, adding texture to the kitchen and complementing the stone fireplace in the family room. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

The project’s architect, Bethesda-based Tom Flanagan, referred the homeowner to designer Hedy Shashaani of Jack Rosen Custom Kitchens in Rockville, and the two women collaborated on the layout and finishes, including the unique cabinets. “It’s much different from what I thought I wanted,” the homeowner says of the mahogany coated with Benjamin Moore’s Silver Lake paint and a gray glaze. The effect reveals some of the grain for a warmer look than solid gray. “I like the subtle detail, and I was able to get the wood look but in a more elegant way,” she says.

A 2½-inch slab of Python granite on the island adds pizzazz. “It’s like a piece of art,” Shashaani says. The perimeter counters are simple no-sheen leathered black granite. “These are easier to maintain than other black materials, 
and show fewer water stains,” the designer explains. 

A bar area has storage for glasses and an under-counter wine cooler. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

When kitchens open directly into living spaces, it’s important to be conscious of the views. “We wanted it to feel inviting and not look too kitchen-y,” Shashaani says. To that end, she eliminated wall cabinets over the cooktop and worked with Flanagan to enlarge the windows to frame the matte-black custom vent hood. “It may feel like we’re losing storage, but we made up for it with longer, deeper cabinets on the main sink wall,” Shashaani explains. 

The balance and integration of the kitchen and the family room was a primary goal for the homeowner, who now has a beautiful and functional place to cook and spend time with friends. After all the effort and investment, she doubts she will ever tire of it. “It’s changed my entire entertaining experience, and I feel like it’s timeless and future-proof,” she says.

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