Dream Kitchens 2012: Inspired By the West

A slate backsplash, a birch hood, and thick green-hued granite countertops give this Great Falls kitchen a rustic feel.

By: Kathleen Bridges

Where to Find It

Custom hood: Mizell Woodworking. Cabinets: Greenfield. Stone tile: Porcelanosa. Sink Counter: Oiled soapstone from R. Bratti. Island counter: Granite from R. Bratti. Refrigerator: Miele. Freezer drawers: Sub-Zero. Range: Wolf. Hood insert: RangeCraft. Wall ovens and warming drawers: Gaggenau. Wine cooler: GE. Microwave: Sharp.

The owner of this house in Great Falls has family in Wyoming, and he and his wife love the rustic look of Western homes. They spotted an oversize wooden hood in an interior-design magazine, and it became the inspiration for their renovated kitchen.

Jennifer Gilmer, the Chevy Chase designer who worked on the project, chose a custom birch hood with dovetailed corners and set it against a counter-to-ceiling installation of slate tile. “When you use stone that’s all the same color, it creates a beautifully natural, textural element,” says Gilmer.

To open the space to the outdoors, Gilmer added a window above the sink, bringing in more light but taking up valuable real estate. To compensate, a slim refrigerator was placed along the perimeter, and pullout freezer drawers were added under the island—both are hidden behind cabinets. “The days of huge 48-inch refrigerators are waning,” says Gilmer. “Separating the two units allows for more countertop and storage space.”

For the counters, the owners chose a chunky granite with a green hue and paired it with a soapstone countertop around the sink, which was bumped out three inches to make it feel like a separate piece of furniture. Says Gilmer: “In my mind’s eye, it’s reminiscent of a dry sink from days past out west.”

One thing people didn’t have back then: a dishwasher on either side of the sink—here hidden from view by cabinet doors. “With three kids in the house,” says one of the owners, “that was critical.”

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This article appears in the October 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.