Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

What's Cookin'


People ask me to renovate their kitchens for a number of reasons. Some have kitchens as out-of-date as "I Love Lucy" twin beds, others want to merge their kitchens with a family or living area, some have to renovate because their ovens don't stay warm or their dishwashers have ruined their 20 year-old tiled floor. Here's what I suggest.

Don't try to put a square in a circle; work with what you have. If you have a brick colonial with shutters, or your furniture style leans towards Queen Anne, refrain from highly-stylized modern cabinetry and mirrored back splashes. On the other hand, if you have a contemporary space, avoid raised-panel arched cabinets with brass knobs and faucets with criss-cross handles. Renovations to an existing structure should maintain the integrity of the house. Poggenpohl in Georgetown and Bethesda uses the concept of integration to incorporate kitchens and dining areas into one entertainment space. Through cabinetry and other custom furnishings, they are able to tailor their designs. The company also offers a variety of top-of-the-line brands such as Viking, Miele, Subzero and Gaggenau.

In new construction, kitchens are incorporated into family or living areas. Most homes or condominiums feature open floor plans with family or living areas separated by kitchen islands. Consider removing a wall and expanding your concealed kitchen. Think about how you live. Most guests congregate in the kitchen when they attend a party. Take advantage of that and allow them to seat themselves in a beautiful space in view of the kitchen. It makes entertaining more relaxed. Select cabinet finishes, appliances, and lighting that complement the adjoining areas.

Open kitchen concept by Poggenpohl.

Select kitchen finishes that will blend with your home furnishings. Seek out cabinets with a warm wood finish: think maple or cherry wood with a medium stain. Steer towards a refrigerator and dishwasher that can be concealed with decorative cabinet panels. Visit your local granite yard and hand pick a set of slabs that have beautiful swirls of amber, rich plums or soft grays. Adorn your countertop with a backsplash of hand-made glass tiles or marble, and illuminate all of it with halogen under-cabinet lighting or track lighting. Use separate dimmers to create unique lighting patterns. Focus your attention on the dining room by dimming the kitchen lights An island usually can be designed with pendant lights or mini chandeliers. Install those lights on a separate dimmer as well so your guests won't be blinded. Invest in barstools upholstered in fabric that coordinate with a nearby sofa, dining chair or window treatment. Another idea: consider selecting a complementary cabinet finish or accent color for your island, something that sets it apart from the other cabinetry.

To maximize counter space, place tall cabinets and refrigerators towards the ends of the kitchen. Counter space will be lengthier and more usable, decorative backsplashes will be fluid, and the overall area will be more linear. Avoid placing a cook top in the island; instead, a sink and dishwasher will create less heat and less visible mess.

Poggenpohl’s +INTEGRATION range is intended for an open space concept.

It's possible to create a beautiful kitchen on a budget, but you need to prioritize. Stick with a good stock cabinet, such as Merillat. The Culpeper- based company puts out a quality product. (With good installation and a finished crown molding on top of the wall cabinets, no one will know you saved a bundle of cash). Avoid the paneled built-in appliances and stick with good quality from a company such as Viking. If you purchase appliances in a package, you can typically get a group discount or rebate. Invest in high quality granite counters, but paint the backsplash instead of having a decorative tiled backsplash. Use recessed lights on dimmers, but forget pendant lights. Install fluorescent instead of halogen task lighting. Select neutral classic finishes instead of sophisticated color schemes.


Poggenpohl/AAI-Kitchens Managing Director (Mid-Atlantic)

WL: How long should remodeling take?
Usually about four to five weeks for a small kitchen. If you have specialty lighting, that requires another week. For a large kitchen, plan on six to eight weeks.

WL: How do you find a good contractor?
Always look at their background, and make sure they come recommended. It's also important that they have the proper licenses. Never make a large deposit up-front, and make sure you know what the steps are from A to Z when you sign a contract. It's not science, just logic.

WL: How much does a kitchen cost to remodel?
Depending on the size of the project, it could run anywhere from $35,000 on the low-end to over $70,000. You have to factor in the cost of materials; what you choose for wood, countertops, etc. Always make sure you know what you are getting in your bid. For more information on Poggenpohl's innovative designer kitchens contact Amir Farazad at (202) 342-9111, or go to www.poggenpohl-usa.com.


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