"It's the hub of life and activity -- the most important room in the house." That's how Sara Hogan describes the kitchen in her family's home in Stafford. The cooking space -- which measures 13 by 17 feet -- offers plenty of room but very little storage, counter space and lighting. The family envisions a center island, new flooring, more cabinets, designated space for the microwave and an electric wall oven. Can they have all that without a costly structural overhaul? Bruce Chapman, president of Kitchen Planners in Rockville (kitchenplanner@aol.com) thinks they can.
Illustration by Naz Refaat -- Kitchen Planners


The kitchen has lots of room but needs more storage and counter space.
The kitchen has lots of room but needs more storage and counter space. (for The Washington Post)
Thursday, November 9, 2006

Start with the cabinetry:

· If keeping the existing cabinets, paint them Edgecomb Gray semigloss from Pottery Barn's Benjamin Moore Collection. Add crown molding above the cabinets and trim below. Replace the hardware with black patina knobs and handles from Top Knobs' Normandy Collection ( http://www.topknobsusa.com/ , $6 to $12 each).

· If replacing the cabinets, Chapman suggests semi-custom, all-wood frameless cabinetry with a Mirage raised panel inset door design from Adelphi Kitchens in the nutmeg stain and low-sheen finish ( http://www.adelphikitchens.com/AdelphiDoorPage.htm ).

An island will add storage and counter space and pull the room together. Top all counters with quartz, a man-made material impervious to stains, unlike granite and marble. Allow a minimum 12-inch overhang on the outer side to accommodate chairs or stools. Chapman recommends Zodiaq quartz by DuPont in Smokey Topaz ( http://www.zodiacsamples.com/ , about $65 per square foot, not including installation.)

Paint the room a soothing neutral to blend with colors in the adjacent family room. Use Greenbrier Beige, also from Pottery Barn's Benjamin Moore Collection, on the walls and Edgecomb Gray on trim and doors.

Replace the ceramic tile floor with an earthy, light-brown limestone for a nice contrast to the dark countertops. Install a random pattern of 8-by-8-inch to 24-by-24-inch squares. Take a look at the Pavia Antico style from Walker Zanger ( http://www.walkerzanger.com/ , $17 per square foot, excluding installation).

Bring in the backsplash by using 4-by-4-inch pieces of the same limestone, combining a standard straight pattern and a diagonal pattern.

Upgrade lighting. Replace the existing light fixture with recessed lighting. Chapman likes the Calculite line from Lightolier with six-inch diameter and reflector trim, which will help reflect the maximum amount of light into the room ( http://www.lightolier.com/ , approximately $200 each installed).

If replacing appliances , Chapman suggests the following GE Profile items ( http://www.geprofile.com/ ) for their good value: Arctica custom style cabinet-depth refrigerator ($3,090); 36-inch gas-on-glass cooktop ($985); 36-inch telescope downdraft vent ($765); and the 30-inch double oven ($3,260). He also suggests the two-drawer dishwasher from Fisher & Paykel ( http://www.usa.fisherpaykel.com/ , $1,425).

Consider moving the sink to the island ( http://www.franke.com/ , Plumbing-Sink RGX 120, $750; Faucet ATO 480, $900) and adding a 24-inch Sharp microwave drawer ( http://www.sharpusa.com/microwavedrawer , $750).

Terri Sapienza

Tell us about your design challenge. Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com , or write to House Calls, Home Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.

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