Home & Style

Look Inside 2 Totally Different—but Equally Gorgeous—Kitchen Remodels

One is soft and neutral, the other is bold and modern. Both are big on functionality and style.

Look Inside 2 Totally Different—but Equally Gorgeous—Kitchen Remodels
The homeowner was adamant that there be no upper cabinets: “I wanted it to feel more like a room where you could put up art.” And yet the new cabinetry is so much more efficient than the old stuff that she says some cupboards are still partially empty. Photograph by Robert Radifera.

Case Study: The Big Kitchen / Spacious and Serene

Team: Nadia Subaran, designer; Johnson Construction, builder

Timeline: Three months

The refrigerator was shifted about 18 inches to accommodate a bank of tall pantry cabinets. Photograph by Robert Radifera.

This Tenleytown kitchen used to be an “Ikea special,” according to its owner. Thanks to a reimagining by kitchen designer Nadia Subaran, it now has the minimal European look the homeowner desired, while packing in all the functionality that an American family expects. Cleverly designed cabinetry conceals a coffee station, pet bowls, trash bins, a pantry’s worth of food, and more. “I gave Nadia a road map of everything I had that I wanted space for,” the homeowner says. “She came back with a drawing and literally placed everything.”

Nadia Subaran talked the owner out of solid black granite, which shows every water spot. Instead, they went for a pebbled, black-brown version. Photograph by Robert Radifera.
Knobs and handles came from Push Pull Decorative Hardware in North Bethesda. Photograph by Robert Radifera.

Case Study: The Small Kitchen / Bold and Compact 

The backsplash is from Fireclay Tile. Though the color (“Bora Bora”) is the same throughout the space, the wall with the sink is done in one-by-four-inch rectangles, while the stove alcove features the line’s “Chaine Homme” pattern. Photograph by Stacy Zarin Goldberg.

Team: Allie Mann and Jim Wrenn, Case Architects & Remodelers

Timeline: Five months (including Covid-related delays)

Baseboard heaters previously limited counter space. Case got rid of those and installed heat under the floor instead. Photograph by Stacy Zarin Goldberg.

Jolene Lowry and Rollie Miller lived in their midcentury ranch in McLean for a decade before remodeling the kitchen, so they weren’t about to cut corners. “We wanted really good quality, and we wanted the look that we had in our heads,” says Miller. The couple, both federal employees, considered only design/build firms, meaning everything from drawings to construction would be handled by one company. “We just have a busy lifestyle,” says Lowry. “We liked the idea of a project manager that would be overseeing all the trades and doing all the scheduling.” Though compact, the couple’s new kitchen is big on functionality, style, and color.

The couple initially wanted handmade terra-cotta floors, but Case talked them into Pennsylvania slate—a savings of about $15,000. Photograph by Stacy Zarin Goldberg.
The owners opted to splurge on hand-selected walnut for the cabinets so the grain would be consistent. Photograph by Stacy Zarin Goldberg.

This article appears in the October 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.