Everyone loves looking at pretty kitchens, right? Today, SB Atlanta writer Katherine Michalak takes us on a tour of hers!
In the Michalak household, family roots in New Orleans strongly influence our sense of style as much as our palates. That Creole heritage sticks to the soul heavier than the August air in Audubon Park. Whether it’s the French Quarter or St. Charles Avenue, we’ve always been drawn to the New Orleans aesthetic, though it’s not a design style typically found in a suburban neighborhood sprawl. Though hundreds of miles away in Atlanta, when a long-awaited kitchen renovation finally became possible, we made our Vieux Carré vision a reality.
We’d dreamt of this kitchen for years and years, so we already had a 3-ring binder full of tearsheets noting various ideas. Checklists and sketches of how we hoped to use the space helped our designer, Kitty Tuttle of Kitty Tuttle Interiors, formulate the right layout. Those lists proved crucial during cabinet selection and enabled us to customize our storage–from tall pantry cabinets, to spice jar and canned goods pullouts, even a special cabinet designed as a baking supply center.
Our previous kitchen was the saddest little excuse for cooking space–shockingly bad, even. We weren’t sure if we should demolish it or have it shipped to the Smithsonian. This renovation required full-scale gutting and knocking out walls. (One of the carpenters let me swing the sledgehammer through the wall a few times. Kitchen catharsis.) The expanded area tripled our available space!
We picked cabinets in a warm ivory finish with a coffee-color glaze, giving brand new wood a more aged feel. Cabinetry panels and a small mantelpiece detail conceal the vent hood over our gas stovetop. I love to cook, and I am often cooking BIG (the more the merrier over here!), so splurging on a long-armed faucet mounted conveniently along the backsplash assists in filling larger pots, like those stored in the heavy-duty drawers underneath the cooktop. The chocolate-colored Brown Bruin granite tops off the lighter wood in a rich glow, and brushed nickel hardware adds a little bling.
We love the long, narrow island running down the center of the kitchen. It provides additional storage, and the work space is accessible from all zones of the kitchen, without being too broad. Using the same style of cabinets in a different color–a distressed green–and adding “legs” to the end, renders a furniture feel to this prominent feature of the room. To keep everything from looking too uniform, we contrasted the granite on the island, choosing ivory St. Cecilia, which blends with the main cabinetry. We had room to install a small prep sink at the far end of the island, which is great for chopping veggies and to use as a bar sink when we have larger parties. Outdoor lanterns from Masterpiece Lighting swing above, just like a banquette around Jackson Square.
The long wall connecting our breakfast room and dining room transformed easily into a Butler’s Pantry. After years of shoving our nice china and big platters underneath the guest bed, I was positively giddy over the amount of storage options available for the cabinets: tall side cabinets, cabinets for tray storage, a full bank of deep drawers, and slim toe kick drawers hidden along the bottom providing a perfect spot for placemats, cloth napkins, and even candles. The glass front cabinets across the top, lit from inside, give extra sparkle to the pieces displayed within … including our wedding crystal, finally relocating from the linen closet to a permanent home, only 10 years after the ceremony.
After much research on appliances, we opted for the KitchenAid Architect Series from Sewell Appliance, choosing a double oven, warming drawer, 6-burner gas range, and microwave in stainless steel finish. On the range hood, the dishwasher and built-in refrigerator, we ordered matching cabinetry panels for a more seamless look (also reducing the amount of area that would require constant polishing). The deep double sink is also a heavy-gauge stainless. A slightly raised breakfast bar backs up behind the sink wall and transitions the kitchen into the family room.
A main kitchen desk area serves as “Command Central” for our whole busy family. Bills, paperwork, school assignments, and invitations all have a place tucked away in cubbies or pinned onto the corkboard. Cookbooks, office and computer supples store away in upper cabinets, while important files hang out in lower drawers.
Family Rule: Students on a laptop must sit right here where computer activity can be monitored!
This older home, built in the late 1970s, sported a very dated sunroom attached to the back wall of the kitchen area. Re-engineering that dreary space and enclosing an unused deck created an open floor plan that allows the family room and breakfast area to flow into the kitchen and formal dining room now. Not only does this foster more family interaction, but also makes for a fantastic layout for entertaining.
We may know what it means to miss New Orleans, but in our new kitchen we say, “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!”
Lighting & Hardware: www.masterpiecelighting.com