Designer: Jeanette Forney Van Wicklen of Van Wicklen Design (also the homeowner)
Location: Spicewood, Texas
Material mix: “Textures bring a cozy feel, and the kitchen should be one of those cozy rooms full of great textures and great cooking,” says designer and homeowner Jeanette Forney Van Wicklen. Her two large black dogs had dirtied her original all-white kitchen cabinets by constantly brushing up against them, so when it came time to replace the wood floors, she took the opportunity to repaint the cabinets a darker olive-gray. “It’s more user-friendly,” she says.
She replaced dark black-green soapstone countertops with butcher block from Ikea. “I love the soapstone look, but it required more maintenance,” she says. She kept a piece of the original soapstone and used it to the left of the stove. There’s also a section of Carrara marble for baking to the left of the fridge in another part of the room.
Why the design works: The open plan makes a great entertaining space and allows the homeowner to switch from a dining table in the center to a large island, which she had before. “It works great either way,” she says.
“Uh-oh” moment: Van Wicklen had replaced the original tile floors with longleaf pine after moving into the home. A plumbing leak ruined the new floors, so she had to replace them again, this time with hardy oak. “They’re very user-friendly, great with dogs — scratches don’t show, and the color masks any country-muddy paws that come in,” she says.
The nitty-gritty: Backsplash: subway tile with dark gray grout, Lowe’s; countertops: butcher block, Ikea, with Waterlox seal; Carrara marble and soapstone: Accent Granite & Marble; light fixtures: Ballard Designs; upper cabinet paint color: White Dove, Benjamin Moore; lower cabinet paint color: Retreat, Sherwin-Williams
Team: Dalgleish Construction Company (architect and builder); Travis Wayne Baker of Twist Tours (photography)
Designers: Jason Ulm ofHeritage Homes and Carol Kirchner of Villa Decor & Design
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Size: 360 square feet (about 33 square meters); about 20 by 16 feet
Year built: 2014
Material mix: “The overarching focus for the materials selected was to combine the cool, calm colors of the ocean with low-maintenance products essential for casual beach living,” says designer Jason Ulm.
Stainless steel forms the perimeter countertops, while white quartz covers the island. The cabinets are stainless-steel-framed glass panels from Bishop Cabinets, painted a bluish gray on the perimeter and brilliant white on the island. Ulm’s carpenter built the beams out of white oak planks that a local faux finisher then distressed.
Homeowners’ request: A hassle-free kitchen that reflects a contemporary and clean style fit for an oceanfront home.
Why the design works: The space flows well to the living and dining rooms, while the oversize island can seat six people with ample room for others to still move around it. Antiques displayed on steel shelves add warmth and keep the space from feeling too sterile.
Who uses it: A couple and their five kids mostly enjoy coffee, tea and breakfast here while watching the morning sunrise over the ocean.
Designer secret: “Don’t be afraid to try something new,” Ulm says. “This was the first time using this style of cabinets, and it made a huge impact in making this a one-of-a-kind kitchen.”
“Uh-oh” moment: “Glass door cabinets are very difficult to work with, unlike wood cabinet doors that can be adjusted in the field,” Ulm says. “There is no room for error. We spent a ton of time planning and measuring this kitchen so that we could avoid mistakes, but that being said, we had issues with over-tightening cabinet hardware and the shattering of a few of the glass doors. To fix this, we had to use rubber washers to get a secure fit on the doors. There is such a thing as too tight.”
Take-away: “This was our first collaboration with the decorator, and the process of having another set of eyes on the project was a big help,” Ulm says. “We have since done several projects together.”
The nitty-gritty: Hood: Vent-a-Hood; range: Bertazzoni; dishwasher: Bosch; microwave: Sharp
Team: Heritage Homes (designer, builder, general contractor, cabinet designer); Villa Decor & Design (decorating)