Every kitchen design has to start somewhere. This one began with some antique pendant lights the owners had found years earlier and put into storage. To complement the light fixtures, builders Mel Silicki and James Maloney put together a palette that’s high in contrast and texture, but minimal in its color selections. The double-island space is large (a requirement for clients who frequently host large parties) and could have easily looked overblown, but it doesn’t in light of this restraint. At the same time, a few inspired turns keep the broad space from feeling too uniform. Rather than specifying all light countertops and all dark cabinetry (or vice versa) the design alternates them. One island has a dark espresso base with a milky concrete top, while its twin sports painted white casework with a dark riveted metal top. Raw Urth Designs, a metal fabricator in Colorado, provided the metal countertop (it’s rolled steel with a powder coat patina finish) as well as all of the cabinet hardware and the dramatic suspended metal vent hood, which is made from ¼-inch-thick aged steel and weighs about 1,000 pounds. “We had to reinforce the ceiling, and during installation we needed a jack to raise it into place, along with about seven guys,” Silicki says. Add to that some cypress ceiling beams, mahogany window casements, and a Jerusalem hand-honed limestone floor, and you’ve got a space that feels impressively Old World, yet at the same time light, open, and airy.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.