For natural wood, glazed kitchen cabinets, it’s the grain and detailing that matters.
It’s rare to come across a maple kitchen with a vintage American furniture look and not find it just a trifle staid. But when the cabinets are exquisitely made, proportioned and glazed, the result is as timeless and as classic as this custom wormy maple kitchen in Chicago.
Perhaps most surprising is the lack of contrast. From the honey-glazed maple cabinets to the granite counters and the tumbled marble backsplash it’s much the same tone. Even the stone-tile floor blends in. For me, the most-handsome area is the SubZero refrigerator and freezer armoire [top] with arched paneled doors that close against an intricately detailed refrigeration cabinet. That cabinet goes to the ceiling in one piece and the usual soffit cabinet space is opened up for display. A matched pair of tall, library style cabinets feature wire-mesh inserts backed by shirred fabric with drawers below and additional, larger display openings on top. At each end of the island there is space to sit down.
The island is a bi-level affair with a raised, granite-topped sideboard-style cabinet facing the dining area. It blocks the view of the main stainless steel sink behind it.
Across the aisle, a 60-inch Wolf dual fuel range is built into a niche that conceals a vent hood and is backed by tumbled marble tile inset with a trio of raised grape cluster motif decorative tiles and a matching smaller scale border. The area also provides raised spice storage shelves and narrow ledges for setting down bottles and utensils.
The mix of materials travels a bit at the secondary sink where a panel of glass mosaic tile is framed with the grape cluster relief behind a stunning marble panel-front apron sink. The panel reminds me of a Roman bath floor (and the sink is definitely tub size) while the surrounding cabinets feel like Philadelphia Main Line. Yet it’s a mixed marriage that works.
Kitchen corners that sit between two doors are notoriously tough. Designer Pauline Laner finessed this one by linking cabinets above the doorway within the kitchen area and having two adjacent cabinets built like co-joined hutches with elegant closed, curved side panels that finish them exquisitely. This becomes the breakfast bar with a handy plate rack, coffee maker and toaster oven contained in a charming space.