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Washington, D.C., Residence

Washington, D.C., Residence

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

    A pair of pillars and a breakfast bar are all that separate the kitchen and living room, creating a strong relationship between the two spaces.

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    Maxwell MacKenzie

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    Robert M. Gurney

The historical Washington, D.C., apartment building that plays host to this daring kitchen remodel dates from the early 20th century. Kitchens at the time were intended to be separate from the rest of the house, and this one was no different. “The old kitchen was an isolation point,” says architect Robert Gurney. “You had to go out of your way to get there.”

As part of a comprehensive overhaul of the 1,900-square-foot apartment, Gurney rotated the kitchen 90 degrees from its original location. The only elements dividing it from the newly open living and dining area are a floating, aluminum-topped breakfast bar and two structural pillars. “The goal was to make it part of the living space,” Gurney says. So he blended materials in the kitchen to achieve the same rich texture that appears in the rest of the public areas. The subtle striations of the mahogany cabinets contrast with the smooth gleam of stainless steel ones, and a unit of glass shelving adds another element into the mix. A blue granite countertop, dark red and turquoise aniline-dyed wood accents, and a white tile backsplash introduce more colors into the composition. The Brazilian cherry floor in the main room continues into the kitchen to unite the spaces.

Despite the room's many bits and pieces, it hangs together with an elegance only a skilled design and building team could achieve. “They did a great job laying together the different parts,” said a judge. Added another, “Out of all the kitchens we've seen, this is the one I would most like to cook in.”

Project Credits
Entrant/Architect:
Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Alexandria, Va.
Builder: M.T. Puskar Construction Co., Alexandria
Interior designer: Baron Gurney Interiors, Washington, D.C.
Project size: 200 square feet
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: © Maxwell MacKenzie

Resources: Bathroom/kitchen plumbing fittings: Vola; Bathroom plumbing fixtures: Kohler; Cabinets: Burger's Custom Cabinetry; Dishwasher: Bosch; Garbage disposer: Kitchen Aid; Hardware: FSB and Schlage; Kitchen plumbing fixtures: Franke; Lighting fixtures: Artemide, Lightolier, and Stonco; Oven: Miele; Paints: Benjamin Moore; Patio doors: Weathershield; Range: Bosch; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero.