18 May Modern transitional (lovingly dubbed: Mr. Green’s in Charge)
THE REQUEST? A NEW CONSTRUCTION HOME FOR FIVE. NO WAIT – SIX.
NOPE. ACTUALLY, MAKE THAT SEVEN.
Foot-draggers we are not. As a matter of fact, our get-it-done-ness is one of our finer qualities. But there’s nothing quite like having a homeowners’ baby on the way to kick us into turbo mode. So we channeled our most focused selves and blitzed through this Wheaton new construction finger-snap fast – thanks in great part to an agreeable, game-for-anything client duo, with an exceptionally decisive husband at the helm. (Hence the internal project name: Mr. Green’s in Charge.) If this house looks familiar, you’re clearly in deep on the interiors scene – a hard-core design site peruser – and likely saw it on Home Bunch or Houzz, where it’s gotten some Like-love. (By the way, we appreciate that. Far be it from us to take the occasional thumbs-up or double-tap for granted.)
With three young kids (and another in progress) when they started construction, (and PS, one more after moving in), these homeowners were on the manic end of the Madness Spectrum. We’re talking busy. The can’t-remember-what-happened-two-minutes-ago kind of busy. Attempting to manage the never-ending construction details and daily decision making, plus a houseful of small people all vying for their attention, they quickly realized something had to give. So they delegated. To us. The whole kit and caboodle – floor plan changes, millwork, custom cabinetry, lighting, plumbing, tile, paint, countertops, furniture, drapery – and the final finishing touches like art and accessories. (Guess it was either hand over the design details, or the kids, and we’re fairly certain they made the right call.)
The clients’ only(!) marching orders for the entire house were kitchen-related, and came in the form of a mere five-word directive: White, with a big island. So white, with a big island we did. 44 square feet of big island to be exact – about the size of a regulation pool table, but way more practical considering not everyone (read: no one) plays billiards in the kitchen. To accommodate this behemoth, the plans needed some rejiggering. We rotated the kitchen 90 degrees from its original position, leaving a roomy 48 inches between the island and perimeter counters, since that space tends to double as a kids’ racetrack-slash-tag-you’re-it zone.
When the island is this gloriously massive, the reality is there could be a bit of a jaunt to the essential appliances, so we spent some quality time pretend-cooking, talking through what should go where. We landed on a wall oven/microwave combo opposite the island, with sizable drawers below for stashing pots and pans. We added white paneling around a full-size integrated freezer and its separate fridge-twin to create a small hallway leading to a concealed pantry around the corner. Also tucked over there: the all-important coffee/wine station(!).
The light/bright feel is the magic that happens when you combine wide pathways, marble-y surfaces and a skimp-not approach to lighting. We did the backsplash in a classic hex-shape marble, and for the countertops we used an elegant (but secretly super-functional) Carrara-like quartz material. It gives them the wow-factor of marble, but happens to be far more forgiving with spills and way less fuss in terms of care. Because, kids. We kept the custom millwork classic, but sophisticated – with traditional home touches like tongue & groove beveled plank ceilings in the kitchen/dining area to bring more warmth and character into that space.
Every project has its chin-scratchers. This time it was a strange little space between the fridge and a window that had us thinking, “Now there’s an awkward corner.” Long story short, or at least less long…Marble-clad walls. Walnut shelves. And our clients’ collection of decorative finds. Turned out to be one of their favorite spots in the house. Ours too.
Another semi-tricky spot was under the window in the eating area space. Not quite big enough for full-depth cabinetry, it needed a creative solve. So we designed a shallow, buffet-like cabinet with a custom walnut top – perfect for stowing serving platters. Also: crayons, beads, Play-Doh and possibly a few (hundred thousand) Legos.
With a kitchen this spectacular, we didn’t want the adjacent mudroom to have an inferiority complex, so we made it pretty fabulous as well (without foregoing any of the functionality). The warm gray stain on the maple cabinets hides the inevitable kid-prints, smudges, scuffs and scratches. And the window takes its duty verrrry seriously, so this back corner of the house stays light and bright. In keeping with the current office space/mudroom mashup trend, there’s an integrated desk space – with the printer, trash bin and storage all concealed behind cabinets to keep the look super clean and clutter free.
We could go on (and on) about our other favorite design touches – leathered black granite fireplace surround, subtle plaid powder bath wallpaper, fun wide-stripe penny round floor tile in the girls’ bath – but we’ll wind it up here. What we love-love-love about this home is its inviting elegance balanced with the fear-no-mayhem functionality needed to withstand the wear and tear of daily life with (now five!) kids crafting, hide-and-seeking, and generally racing around. It’s pretty, without losing all sense of practicality – and there’s much to be said for both.
Think maybe we’re a match? We were just thinking the same thing.
Until next time… thanks for reading!
All photos by Picture Perfect House (Thanks Marina!)
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