At their best, architectural details are like intriguing people- never showy, slow to reveal themselves, and full of surprises. Take this kitchen addition to Tiffany and Mike Kapnick's 1920s-era home in Adrian, Michigan: Many of its distinguishing features are so discreet they produce a whiff of quality sensed first, processed later.
The room's centerpiece, an island that Tiffany, an interior designer, asked architect Greg Richard to design, is one such example. After its sheer scale impresses, the black marinachi granite top holds gazes. "It looks like the bottom of a riverbed," Tiffany says of the stones-within-stone look. "Both Mike and my dad are big fly fishermen. 'This granite is a nod to that without getting too thematic'
Subtext isn't all that's subtle about the island. “I like how the thickness of the island's countertop is the same profile as the moldings on cabinets,” Tiffany says. In fact, it's 3½ inches deep and required a special tool to cut. "It's double thickness but it doesn't feel fussy," she says. The cabinet moldings are a detail worth patenting, which is exactly what Richard, who designed them, is doing. "I've never seen another (cabinet with a molded face frame," he says. "It creates an extra layer of depth and shadow."
Even the interiors of cabinets add to the room's textural play. Units were lit inside to brighten the teak beaded-board backs. "With this extra layer, the cabinets become another form of light fixture," Richard says.
Some surfaces only nature could plan. The wood lintel over the range includes tiny traces of hark, “In hopes of using salvage, we kept waiting for a certain barn to fall down, hut it kept standing," 'Tiffany says. "Finally we found a tree that a farmer cut down and used its guts as our beam~ Rustic elements abound, but the goal was a smooth blend of these and classic Shingle-style architecture. "I love Shingle-style houses, and that's ultimately our plan for the entire house," she says. Meanwhile, the 1,000-square-foot addition of kitchen and adjoining hearth room, combined with 600 feet of renovated butler's pantry, carry the burden of the style as phase one of the project.
"Because the exterior isn't Shingle style yet, I didn't want to go completely crazy with that look," Tiffany says. Our house sits on 6½ acres and has a pond. There's a bit of a nautical feel, such as the teak countertops and cabinet backs, hut because we mixed materials, it's not overdone:'
Two lime stones combine to create the frame for the range niche, where a backsplash ol old brick is laid in a herringbone pattern. Some choices, including the black granite on perimeter counters and lacquered teak in the butler's pantry and on the kitchen/hearth room divider, are based on durability. "We have a 3-and a 5-year-old and needed materials that would stand up to abuse," Tiffany says.
Other fittings just had to he. "We put two flat-screens in the hearth room - one high, for adults to see from the kitchen, and another low for the kids," Tiffany says. Initially shy about that kind of request she's learned that the most feel-good details always say, "This is how we live:"
(Below right) an arched frame singles out the coffee station and display cubbies.
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