A Festive, Family-Friendly Kitchen
The owners of this one-hundred-year-old home located in the Grove Park neighborhood of Asheville, North Carolina, had some specific needs in mind when they asked interior designer Leslie Huntley of Weaverville, North Carolina–based Roost Interior Design to redo their outdated kitchen. They are both enthusiastic cooks; however, with four young children, they wanted the overall kitchen experience to include the whole family. “The island was a definite for them. They also wanted a large eating area, plenty of storage, and an office nook,” explains Huntley. They loved color and already owned multicolor Fiestaware and a kaleidoscope of folk-art pieces. But they also appreciated the simple warmth of wood tones and butcher block. Huntley was able to translate their needs and favorites to a cheerful, modern space designed with family dinners in mind.
The original kitchen had been gutted, so the designer had a blank slate to work with. “The space measured twenty-two feet by thirteen feet, and was a rather thin room,” says Huntley. She used white as the backdrop and layered it with pops of color. The island holds a thirty-six-inch, stainless-steel oven flanked by white IKEA cabinets, which are also present opposite the island and in the office area. The owners wanted the island to look like a piece of furniture, so Huntley got creative and wrapped the cabinets with a framework of bright, shiny red (a favorite) that also provides protection for the back and sides of the cabinetry. The red adds a real punch to the kitchen and can be seen through the French doors that lead to the patio, beautifully interacting with the outdoor area. The back of the island is taller than the stove surface, creating a safety barrier for passersby and countertop accessories.
The butcher-block countertops were ordered from a local building supply company that cut them to size. They were then treated with a clear, food-safe oil treatment that protects and deepens the rich wood tone. The stainless-steel exhaust hood that floats over the stove makes quite a statement. “Because of the high ceilings, we needed to add an extender to the hood to bring it down to an appropriate height,” explains Huntley.
Opposite the stove is a Kohler, farm-style sink in stainless steel, which coordinates with the appliances. Subtle coordination abounds as the window over the sink is curtained with fabric that matches the upholstery in the banquette eating area. “We could not have done a traditional dining concept in that area,” explains Huntley. “The space is too narrow and would not have provided enough room for a set of chairs and a table.” The custom banquette was built to fit the area and complemented with coordinating upholstery, curtains, a wooden trestle table by Boos, and two silver, powder-coated chairs for additional seating. Brilliant-red barn lights hang over the windows to brighten and illuminate the eating section.
When renovating a kitchen, you might run into spacial challenges, as designer Leslie Huntley did with this design. Huntley suggests researching required clearances for heating elements like stoves, or the minimal space needed to comfortably open stove or dishwasher doors. The designer recommends checking out home stores like IKEA, which have plenty of helpful and practical advice for functional kitchen layouts.
One of the homeowners’ original requests—an office nook—became a stylish catchall. “The desk area is kind of a landing spot for mail and computer-related items,” says Huntley. Open shelving displays cookbooks and a collection of Fiestaware, while IKEA cabinets provide much-needed storage. The open shelving is a similar wood tone to the kitchen flooring—a neutral, rich brown shade—that grounds the colorful palette and matches the original, century-old flooring in the rest of the home.
The original kitchen was quite pleasant according to Huntley, but she says it just wasn’t this family’s kitchen. She adds, “The new kitchen functions well for this family, includes everything that was important to them, and definitely has their colorful stamp on it!” Written by Carolyn M. Runyon. Photography by Matt Rose Photography.
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