Nifty Shades of Gray | Page 4 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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Debbie Pollack, in her new kitchen, in the Springfield neighborhood of Bethesda. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

Modest Modern

One Saturday in 2015, Debbie and Richard Pollack were making the rounds in downtown Bethesda, visiting kitchen showrooms, meeting designers and collecting ideas for their planned renovation. “We stopped by Konst-SieMatic and met Jonas, and that was the end of the looking,” Richard says. He’s referring to designer Jonas Carnemark, the owner of Konst, and the exclusive dealer for the German-made SieMatic brand cabinetry in this region. 

The kitchen at the Pollacks’ 1960s colonial in Bethesda’s Springfield neighborhood looked dated, and the appliances needed to be replaced. “We have lived there for 17 years, and we decided that we’re going to stay for another 10 or 15 and wanted to make it more enjoyable,” Richard says.

The 48-by-107-inch island has a gas cooktop with an exhaust fan overhead, and a raised cherrywood surface at the end is the perfect perch for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

As part of a larger first-floor renovation, they expanded the kitchen slightly, pushing out the back and side walls a few feet. They also added new, larger windows above the sink and widened to 10 feet the interior doorways to the connecting rooms on either end. 

Stretching the room created better circulation, which was high on the homeowners’ wish list. When their grown children visit, they all enjoy cooking together, but the old space was too constricted. Carnemark and Patrick Herald, project developer at Carnemark’s eponymous design/build firm, designed a spacious island with plenty of elbow room around it. “I always put 42 inches between the island and the opposite counters,” Carnemark says. It’s an easy pivot to the other side, but there is enough room to work back to back with another person.

The wall ovens serve as a bookend for the run of cabinets on an exterior wall. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

For a change from their high-gloss white cabinets, the couple opted for a laminate called Titan Pine, a tranquil taupe-y gray with a textured horizontal grain. “It has more of an organic modern feeling,” Carnemark says. The peaceful shade lets other colors, such as the bright white quartz of the countertops, pop. 

The Pollacks wanted a flooring material that would hold up to the paw traffic of their two dogs, Grover, an English springer spaniel, and a yellow Lab named Addie. The 12-by-24-inch basalt color porcelain floor tile is durable and creates a lovely tone-on-tone effect with the cabinetry. “It doesn’t show wear from the dogs and it feels great underfoot, especially in the summer,” 
Richard says. 

Carolyn Weber lives in Silver Spring and frequently writes about architecture and home design. 

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