Before & After: Transforming a McLean Kitchen

Designer Anne Hardock takes her kitchen from dated ’90s to classic elegance.

By: Michele Ginnerty

Photographs courtesy of Michele Ginnerty.

The dated finishes, strong contrasting colors, and an awkwardly shaped multilevel island presented a challenge when designer Anne Hardock of Dwellings by Design set out to transform her mid-'90s builder kitchen into a serene and functional space. Hardock always felt the existing cherry cabinets were a diamond in the rough and knew if they were paired with the right surroundings, they would sing.

Before (top) and after (bottom).

Once the decision was made to keep the perimeter cabinets, Hardock designed an island painted in soft white with a butcher-block countertop in walnut and cherry with a walnut ogee edge to serve as a main focal point and gathering place. The butcher block was custom made by Grothouse Lumber in Pennsylvania and ties in the warm wood tones from the cabinets. To free up a longer run of counter space, a desk that had been a magnet for clutter was removed and a U-Line beverage fridge was added to augment the capacity of the new KitchenAid counter-depth fridge.

The neutral envelope of the kitchen was created by walls painted in Benjamin Moore’s Manchester Tan and anchored by 12-by-24-inch porcelain floor tiles from Architectural Ceramics in a pale gray matte finish with tight grout lines. Unlike the previous square tiles, these rectangular tiles were laid in a running bond pattern to add to the spacious feel of the room. Counters of honed Calcutta Gold marble were paired with a backsplash of polished 2-by-4-inch Calcutta Gold subway tiles; the smaller-than-typical size adds interest to the walls. To keep the sight lines consistent, Hardock chose to extend the backsplash to be even with the wall cabinets by the window over the sink.

Hardock found inspiration in a plate rack in Veranda’s House of Windsor project and designed her own version for the wall behind the breakfast table. Lars Hansen, who executed the renovation project, custom-built this piece. Portuguese pewter mixed with antique Belgian and English ironstone plates add texture to this expanse of wall, and the pops of turquoise tie in with fabrics and accessories in the adjoining family room.

The former kitchen is now a distant memory, replaced by a classic, elegant space that invites family and friends to linger and enjoy one another’s company.