News & Politics

Dream Kitchens 2012: Old Meets New

A Bethesda kitchen expertly mixes classic and modern.

Where to Find It

Cabinets: White oak from Heartwood Kitchen
& Bath. Counters: Marble from R. Bratti.
island: Designed by Barnes Vanze, built by Heartwood.
Subway tile: Renaissance Tile & Bath.
Floor: Atlas Floors. Sink: Shaws.
Faucets: Bluewater. Barstools: Design
Within Reach. banquette: Designed by Barnes Vanze, built
by Designer Workroom. Beams: Perchance to Dream.
Sub-Zero. Dishwasher and dish drawer:
KitchenAid. Range, oven, microwave: Wolf.
Lighting: Visual Comfort.

With marble countertops, a rustic wood-topped island, and a
farmhouse sink, you might not guess that this kitchen is in a new home in
Bethesda overlooking the Capital Crescent Trail. “We didn’t want it to
feel too ‘new house,’ ” says one of the owners. “We really wanted that
lived-in European look.”

Designers say many homeowners prefer kitchens with a seamless
mix of old and new, especially in brand-new homes. Anthony “Ankie”
Barnes—whose firm, Barnes Vanze Architects, oversaw the project—says the
key to creating this look is choosing permanent pieces that are classic
and timeless, then layering in edgier elements that can be replaced as
trends evolve.

“We’ve got antique, reclaimed wooden beams but also ghost
chairs at the breakfast table,” says Barnes. “The feeling is quietly
sophisticated with a modern touch.”

The owners wanted a center island that had the look and feel of
a working kitchen table. Barnes placed a distressed walnut top on turned
legs, offering seating for three while disguising the storage and
utilities below. “My preference is always to make islands seem lighter,
more like furniture,” he says.

On the cabinets, clean-lined, flat-panel doors lean modern, but
traditional knobs and hardware keep them from being trendy. A banquette
covered in a contemporary outdoor fabric provides seating at a breakfast
table, and a glass chandelier and Lucite chairs almost disappear into the
view of the woods beyond.

Though some of the marble and wood will eventually show wear,
one of the owners says that’s part of the appeal: “A kitchen is meant to
be used and lived in. If it looks like an old French kitchen at some
point, all the better.”

Explore More Dream Kitchens ››

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