Jennifer Gilmer’s Designer Notes
This kitchen design project is situated on the Atlantic coast, and, the house was built by the top real estate agent in that area. It was very important that her house has all of the features that her clients are looking for when they want to purchase their beach house. She wanted to have open spaces that took advantage of the beautiful view, yet, it had to be warm and cozy. She also wanted to have a unique cabinet design since she was tired of seeing the predictable “shaker” style cabinets in cherry that have been so popular for the last 10 years.
She saw in my showroom the door style that she wanted, a unique, sculpted door with an Asian flair. She also loved the walnut wood which is very rich and warm and different from any other kitchen she has seen. She loved the 2” thick Valley Gold marble in this display, and, even though it was risky as far as its maintenance, she was willing to take the risk. We decided to incorporate quite a bit of frosted glass in order to bring in the soft blue/green color of the ocean into her home. With the materials selected, we were ready to move on to designing her kitchen.
The Kitchen was open to the family room, and, did not have enough space for a table to be freestanding out in the space at all times. We had the challenge of getting a table that could seat at least 6 people in a space where we really didn’t have room. Also, the dining room is behind the range, and did not have a view of the ocean. The only windows in this room were on the side of the house, looking at the neighbor’s home. She shares her home only with her husband and their dog, so, she didn’t require a lot of refrigeration, so, we reconsidered the big side by side refrigerator which was in the original plan. She also liked the idea of hiding the oven and microwave since her kitchen was so open to the family room. Then, she wanted a pantry, however, the wall that was left for that had a window in it which cramped the pantry space. These were the design challenges for this space.
We decided to have a butcher block table made to match the walnut on the cabinets, and, it had to be a large one, 72” round. In order to have it fit in the space, we have it “attached” to the island most times, but, the casters make it possible to move it out when she has more company. Under the table and attached to the island is a built in booth which is automatic seating and allows for the table to not have to be pulled out too far when in use. We could not center the island in the room, so, instead, we centered this very large and beautiful table. The asymmetry that was created really complimented the mild Asian style of the kitchen!
To solve the closed off dining room, I recommended that we delete the walls on either side of the range and put “floating” shelves suspended by cables which would serve both the kitchen and the dining room both in function and style. This worked like a charm!
We eliminated the large refrigerator/freezer unit and instead, we used a built- in Sub-Zero refrigerator on the side closest to the sink and complimented that on the opposite side with a tall cabinet which houses the oven and microwave. This balanced and tidied up that elevation using some ingenuity so as to keep the space open and airy. The Sub-Zero freezer drawers are next to the refrigerator under the counter.
The pantry problem was resolved by incorporating the window inside it. By creating very large slider doors with frosted glass, the window added some beautiful natural light so as to have the pantry glow during the day. The soft/blue green color of the frosted glass is further complimented by the backsplash tile, a perfect combination.
About Jennifer Gilmer
Jennifer Gilmer, CKD, has been creating beautiful kitchens in the Washington, DC area and beyond for more than 20 years. Starting with a drafting job in a small kitchen design firm in McLean, Virginia, Jennifer soon realized she had an absolute passion for this creatively technical work. She also discovered an innate ability to understand the needs and personalities of her clients and to create spaces to compliment each individual. Her award-winning designs span the spectrum from classic and traditional to sleek and contemporary. She is committed to fulfilling her clients’ needs, doing it well and making the process as joyful as possible.
Jennifer is a native of the Washington, DC area. After her initial drafting job, Jennifer worked with legendary high-end kitchen designer Richard Tunis for eight years. She and a partner then opened Kitchen and Bath Studios, Inc. in Chevy Chase, Maryland in 1993. In 1998, she decided to launch her own firm — Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath, Ltd. Her vision has grown into a successful business, which includes a dedicated support staff who strive to provide the firm’s clients with detailed designs and exceptional service.
In 2009, Jennifer launched an online kitchen design studio, Kitchen Design Online (KDOL) that provides homeowners (both DIY and those working with contractors), architects and builders with a range of services from floor plans to detailed elevations to 3D perspective images.
Mark your calendars: Jennifer’s design column “Kitchen Design Secrets Revealed” debuts on The Decorating Diva.com on Thursday, May 13th 2010. Jennifer’s first column will focus on kitchen island design.