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In a condo with an open floor plan, how do you design a kitchen that’s both functional and presentable? One strategy: appliances that virtually disappear.

Small spaces, ornate antiques, and modern minimalism don’t usually go together. But designer Ra’ed Alawadhi made it all work in his makeover of this kitchen and sitting area.

Owner Charles Petrosky, who works for a public-relations firm in Alexandria, likes to entertain and likes to be with his guests while he cooks. He moved into his studio in DC’s Penn Quarter 15 years ago. Although his tastes are contemporary, the condo’s modern style wasn’t guest-friendly, and it clashed with an old sideboard and a painting he’s had for years.

“It was an all-white kitchen with one fluorescent bulb in the middle,” says Alawadhi, a 31-year-old DC designer.

The kitchen is open to the rest of the studio and has to be presentable as well as functional. Alawadhi chose a black ceramic range top that virtually disappears into the counter when not in use. The aptly named Incognito dishwasher by Miele has hidden controls, although a custom handle was added to match those on the cupboards.

Stainless-steel appliances and light maple cupboards balance the black granite, and the granite’s polished surface reflects light to avoid a black-hole effect.

Open glass shelves hold ceramics and decorative glassware to add color and to play down the functionality of the room. The green-tinted shelves over the sink are actually boxes from the Italian company Zeritalia, which produces high-design furnishings with a unique glass-bending technique. On the sideboard, aluminum-and-acrylic lamps pick up that green accent.

The 1920s Sheridan sideboard is something Petrosky picked up years ago; the painting is the landscape he viewed from his bedroom while a graduate student in Colorado. Wall tiles draw on the colors of both pieces, while the mosaic design complements the sideboard’s inlaid wood. The walls were painted in cream to coordinate with the warm tiles and maple cabinets.

Opposite the kitchen counter, Alawadhi squeezed in a sitting area. The open forms of the Dutch-made sofa and chair make the space feel larger—and provide a place where guests can sit while Petrosky cooks.


Paint: Benjamin Moore Lancaster Whitewash HC-174.

Granite counter: from Marblex, Fairfax; 703-698-5595;

Kitchen cabinets:
Integra by Kitchen Craft, from Cabinet Discounters, Springfield; 703-425-8822;

Black ceramic cooktop by Thermador, $1,119 at the Appliance Source, Annapolis; 410-267-7110.

Kitchen faucet: Madison Flair by Dornbracht, from W.T. Weaver & Sons, Georgetown; 202-333-4200;

Mosaic tiles: “Oak Blend” from Hakatai; Oregon; 541-552-0855;

Sofa and leather chair: Sofa ($4,150) and chair ($2,110), both by in the Netherlands, available at Apartment Zero, Northwest DC; 202-628-4067;

Flooring: Flor-brand tiles around $11 a piece from Interface Flooring Systems, Georgia; 800-336-0225; Available at Apartment Zero.

Wall lamps: Tin Round by Flos, New York; 631-549-2745; Available through Illuminations in Georgetown (202-965-4888) or DC’s Penn Quarter (202-783-4888);

Lamps on sideboard:
by BiProduct, New York; 212-513-1220;

Wall hanging in lounge area: by Canada’s Bev Hisey;

Green glass boxes over kitchen sink:
by Zeritalia, This item is discontinued, but the company offers other glass shelving.

Interior design: Ra’ed Alawadhi; 202-486-3324;

For a small space, Ra’ed Alawadhi suggests using glass shelves. They don’t look as heavy as wooden ones because they allow light to travel through.

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