With three growing teenage children in the family, Peter and Holly Maillet discovered that their kitchen needed to do some growing itself. The original setup for the space had it divided into multiple rooms, including a bathroom, a smaller kitchen and a laundry area. "It just wasn't right for our family. This house is 40 years old and I think was built during a more traditional time when there was just one cook," Peter Mailler says. "The way we live is very informal and [there are] lots of people."
And lots of cooks. "We both like to cook and our kids are learning how to cook, so there's often two or three people in here working on a meal," Maillet says.
So, a few months ago, they decided they needed a bigger space that offered relaxed modern convenience. But they also wanted their kitchen to "fit the character of the house, because this house has a very distinctive style," Maillet says of the brick, Colonial-style exterior of his home near Ednam. So we wanted to do something that would suit our lifestyle needs but also not have someone walk in and go, 'What's this kitchen doing in this house?"'
What they came up with satisfies both demands. After tearing down walls and literally taking the thing back to studs," Maillet says, the kitchen is now one, unified space that can easily accommodate a passel of amature cooks. The house's stately charm is manifested in the new cabinetry by Vinchell Wood Designs, which covers three walls. The cherry wood cabinetry, stained mahogany by local refinishing company Ready Restoration, contrasts with the greenish-gray "verde maritaka" granite countertop on the kitchen island and stainless steel appliances to create a polished yet approachable look. Lots of extra drawers tucked under the island and in the cabinets create efficient use of space. Recessed lighting brightens the "Healing Aloe" wall color, as well as the white tile backsplash over the sink. And hanging out is encouraged with stools and large plaid evergreen, sage and coral colored chairs
The style of the kitchen is all their own, but they had a little help. Because the redesign called for some structural changes and tearing down of walls, they first enlisted the help of kitchen designer Karen Turner on the conceptual layout of their space. The Maillets took it from there. "Thats what was great to kind of get us going because when we started, [our kitchen] was so different. We were like, 'How do we get from point A to point B?'...At the beginning there are so many possibilities," Maillet says. Turner was a pro, he adds, and her "big picture" ideas helped the Maillets in achieving the extra space they needed, just in time for their upcommg family reunion.
Printed in Cville Weekly, August 2004.
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