Three beautiful kitchen designs that serve up major style and function.

  • Out of the Movies

    The silver screen inspired a clean, classic makeover in Vienna.

    Photograph by Kevin Allen.

    For years, Vienna mayor Laurie DiRocco saved clippings from decor magazines, anticipating the day she’d renovate her home. But when it came to what she considers the most important room of all, only one image mattered. “In the movie Something’s Gotta Give, I loved Diane Keaton’s kitchen,” she says.

    DiRocco’s not alone. With its black-and-white palette and timeless details, the room is such a popular design reference that “Something’s Gotta Give kitchen” is a suggested Google search term. Designer Lori Graham agreed that achieving a similar aesthetic was a worthy aspiration.

    Graham worked with Silver Spring’s Aidan Design to choose and configure the cabinetry. There was some debate over the countertops: DiRocco felt marble was too predictable, and she disliked the solid color of black granite. A charcoal-gray soapstone with white veining turned out to be perfect.

    Among the family’s favorite features is the reclaimed-walnut breakfast table nestled against the island. “We had an image of a table that was like a $60,000 antique,” says Graham. “We couldn’t find anything affordable that was even close.” So she commissioned a custom piece from Baltimore’s Mitchell Yanosky, and it’s now the hub of the kitchen.

    Says DiRocco: “We eat there, we work there, my daughters spread their homework there, we read the paper there.”

    The Details

    1. Cabinet Hardware

    Cabinet hardware from Restoration Hardware.

    2. Cabinetry

    Cabinets from Wood-Mode.

    3. Table

    Custom reclaimed-walnut table from Mitchell Yanosky Custom Finishes.

    4. Chairs

    Iron-and-woven-rush chairs from Casamidy.

    5. Countertops

    Soapstone countertops from R. Bratti Associates.

    6. Lighting

    Similar glass-globe pendants at Williams-Sonoma Home (exact lights were discontinued).

    7. Backsplash

    Grove Brickworks tile from Waterworks.

  • Fit For a Chef

    With high-end appliances, plenty of storage, and good looks, this Bethesda kitchen has it all.

    Photographs by Dan Chung.

    Maureen O’Bryan’s Bethesda kitchen was built to withstand the rigorous workouts it gets from its owner, who hosts elaborate dinners for friends and family. Even a regular weeknight meal for her husband, Ray, can turn into a multi-course production.

    “She has something like 40 baking dishes,” says Aidan Design’s Nadia Subaran, who worked with architect Jim Rill to create the space. “This is a kitchen for a true cook.”

    O’Bryan wanted ample storage and top-of-the-line appliances—including two Wolf ovens and a BlueStar gas range. But Subaran also had to make the kitchen look beautiful.

    Finishes were chosen for both functionality and appearance. The perimeter countertops are a durable quartzite, while a large island features a walnut butcher-block surface for chopping and a marble prep space that’s elevated for aesthetics and to make it easier for six-foot-two Ray O’Bryan to help his wife. Though marble can be high-maintenance, the dark swirling shades of this particular slab allow it to hide blemishes.

    Subaran’s other challenge was keeping the relatively modern kitchen cohesive with the rusticity of the O’Bryans’ Craftsman home. A smart paint choice did the trick—rather than trendy white or gray on the cabinetry, she chose an earthy taupe that instantly warmed the room.

    The Details

    1. Oven

    60-inch range and vent hood from BlueStar.

    2. Backsplash

    Round stainless-steel mosaic tile from the Builder Depot.

    3. Cabinetry

    Cabinets from Wood-Mode.

    4. Subway Tiling

    Glass subway tile from Architectural Ceramics.

    5. Island Countertops

    Island countertops in Cosmos granite from Classic Granite & Marble; end-grain walnut from Grothouse Lumber.

    6. Countertops

    Perimeter countertop in Taj Mahal quartzite from Classic Granite & Marble.

  • Designer Do-It-Yourself

    An architect achieves sleek sophistication with recycled materials and D.I.Y. cabinets.

    Photographs by Dan Chung.

    Architect Todd Ray hesitates when asked about the source of his sleek kitchen cabinets. He offers a couple of hints—they were “flat-packed” and he assembled them himself—before making his big reveal: They’re from Ikea.

    Achieving a designer look using products from the big-box store is, of course, nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s an impressive feat that Ray accomplished once before.

    The inspiration for his Arlington kitchen came from a home he completed for a client on New York’s Fire Island, a location accessible only by boat. Ray realized it would be easiest to ship cabinets unassembled in boxes, leading him to create a minimalist, modern “flat-packed” kitchen for the luxury beach retreat.

    For his own house, he took it a step further, custom-facing his pantry, refrigerator, and freezer with sheets of the matching cabinet material, giving the space an even higher-end vibe. Inside, they’re stocked with jarred fruits and vegetables from his and wife Diane’s back-yard garden.

    The countertops are made of recycled glass and porcelain, and the appliances are all energy-efficient, both choices that helped the home achieve LEED certification. The four red cabinet doors, a custom element, add a colorful pop.

    The Details

    1. Cabinetry

    Cabinets from Ikea.

    2. Red Cabinet Door Accents

    Red-front cabinet door frames from IDS Group. Red glass-and-film panels from Solar Eclipse Glass Tinting.

    3. Appliances

    All appliances (Energy Star-rated) from GE Monogram.

    4. Countertops

    Recycled-glass-and-porcelain countertops from Eco by Cosentino.

  • Dream Kitchens 2014 Resources

    Designers who can create a beautiful space— plus sources for appliances, countertops, tile, and more.

    Photograph by Dan Chung.

    A little design envy can go a long way when figuring out how to build your dream kitchen. If you love a neighbor’s cement-tile backsplash or apron-front sink, make note of where it came from. If a friend raves about a designer, schedule a consultation and be sure to check references from others.

    We can help, too. The experts and firms on this list were recommended by their colleagues in the industry. Some manufacture or supply the materials you’ll need, others install them, and some take you through the entire design process, including choosing appliances.

    Not included are general architecture and remodeling firms, many of which work only on larger-scale renovations. For this list, we stuck to kitchen specialists. Also not included are major chains like Lowe’s and Home Depot, which can be good sources for materials, appliances, and design ideas. Just remember that contractors at those stores aren’t company employees, so it’s important to investigate how the chains handle any problems that arise from their work.

    If a designer or contractor isn’t named here, it doesn’t mean he or she won’t do an excellent job—think of this list as a starting point for creating an enviable kitchen.

Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 and was a senior editor until 2022.