When my husband and I purchased our home in Alexandria, the kitchen was the selling point. Recently renovated, it was clean and bright, with cream cabinets and subway tile, plus a pass-through that opened into the dining area—all of it a far cry from the cluttered counters and dark hues of our former apartment. The new space evoked a sense that cooking and entertaining here would be a serene experience.
The same can be said for the elegant kitchen you see here, which mixes a minimal appearance with a classic design. “We wanted to keep the kitchen leaning toward the traditional,” says Kim Drakapolous of Centreville-based Wellhouse and Co., who designed this 6,000-square-foot modern Belgian farmhouse in Arlington with Ashburn-based conscious-construction firm Brush Arbor Homes.
Drakapolous and her team incorporated elements like a more traditional backsplash (tile as opposed to slab). White-oak shelving was selected to complement the rustic wood beams in the adjoining family room; the perimeter was done in a warmer white, while the island has a wood tone. And the floor, also white oak, was left unadorned by a rug.
“It’s a statement in itself,” she notes.
The appliances add to the cohesive feel. Take the Shiloh Cabinetry range hood. It’s white, making for a smooth appearance against the wall. “A hood is such a large element,” says Drakapolous. “I prefer not to make it the focal point. I’d rather have all of the pieces work together, so you look at the kitchen as a whole.”
The Thermador refrigerator and freezer are unique in that the two 30-inch columns are separated by cabinetry (the former is on the right with the latter on the left). It’s a clever way to develop symmetry and visual interest.
If you’re not in the market for a full overhaul (or a new home), Drakapolous says there are plenty of simple tweaks. Start with color, she advises: If you have a ’90s dark-wood kitchen, paint the cabinetry and ornate decor the same shade so they fade into the background.
The hardware can have a big impact, too. Update it with something more streamlined; warm metal tones, like the gold and polished nickel used here, build dimension without a lot of extra decor—as does the aforementioned tilework. Rather than a straight white hue, use one with tone and texture. (The version you see here has light-gray variations.) Stay away from patterned contrasting tile, but do consider bringing in black accents, like the stools.
“It helps ground a room,” notes the designer. “It also modernizes and makes a space more current if your home is already traditional.”
As for a fun DIY tip: “If you have glass cabinetry, remove that middle panel and replace it with perforated metal, which you can get online,” suggests Drakapolous. (She used hexagon-shaped perforated metal in an open cabinet to the left of the stove.)
Other options include storing smaller appliances, like your toaster, in your cabinet to reduce clutter. (It’s what she calls your “appliance garage.”) This can also be achieved by keeping visible items in neutral shades and using spare accoutrements. (These two-inch floating wood shelves, for instance, lean more modern than fancier iterations.)
Perhaps the easiest thing you can do? Create one large floral or greenery arrangement from your own backyard—simplicity, most certainly.