Gordon Beall Photography

With an aim to create a more open and classic feel, Bethesda, Md.–based architecture firm Anne Decker Architects and builder Potomac Valley Builders transformed a standard L-shaped kitchen with basic features into a traditional, yet whimsical, space filled with carefully chosen materials and accents.

“We wanted to create a room that also happens to be a kitchen,” says Decker. “It was meant to be a little bit more eclectic and less built-in.”

The design team was responsible for the Washington, D.C., home’s whole-house overhaul. Besides the kitchen remodel, the architects wanted to open up the home and connect its various spaces. To give the rooms a cohesive feel, they chose a neutral palette of whites and grays throughout the first floor with a variety of metal finishes including brass and stainless steel.

To establish a strong focal point for the kitchen, Decker and her team centered a stainless custom hood with matching La Cornue range between two windows with dark-painted French casements. Lower custom cabinetry on both sides of the stove was given brushed stainless steel drawer fronts. The designers chose larger-scale, round knobs with square mounts on the stainless steel built-ins, too. Those design choices “give it articulation and a little bit of a Parisian feel” and ensure “it wasn’t a run-on sentence of cabinetry,” adds Decker.

Gordon Beall Photography

This focal wall also includes two sets of custom steel open shelving to display glasses and plates. According to Decker, the addition of the hanging shelves—opposed to typical cabinets—gives the kitchen a more open and airy feel. Plus, a marble slab backsplash spans the length of the wall to add dimension and the illusion of added height.

For continuity, a similar marble with a more pure white was chosen as the material for the countertops, while light gray cabinetry was used for the island and mirroring wall.

“We presented the client with a more neutral palette of whites, pale grays, and deeper grays to accent the black and gold,” says Decker. “We knew we wanted those finishes and hues because they are a nod to the colors throughout the house.”

The marble-topped island boasts seating for three and an undermount sink with a silver chrome faucet. Above the area, the designers added two brass statement lighting fixtures with spherical glass shapes and 3-inch recessed lights. Existing red oak floors were refinished and lightly stained.

Opposite the statement wall, 2-foot-deep built-in cabinetry runs from the floor to the ceiling to counteract the openness of the windows and shelving. The wall houses a large wine refrigerator, traditional refrigerator, wall ovens, and various storage areas.

In the adjacent breakfast room, the team applied floor-to-ceiling molding and added a unique brass lighting feature in tune with the others in the kitchen. The area also features hidden pantry storage on either side of one of the room’s entrances. Custom-made panel walls constructed by the builder open up to reveal even more storage stretching from the baseboards to the crown molding—enough for the most serious French chef.

“The kitchen used to be a very defined room and now it flows to the breakfast room,” says Decker. “We opened up the house in a huge way.”