Inspired by European vacations, this serene kitchen has romantically arched windows that shed morning light onto the handcrafted English cabinetry. Designed to echo the look of old-world furnishings, the cabinets around the perimeter of the kitchen feature a softly aged finish, while the island has a hand-painted, layered finish of paint, plaster, stains, and glazes in blues and grays. To optimize the kitchen's efficiency, gathering and primary meal prep happen in this main kitchen area, while archways flanking the range lead to a baking room and walk-in pantry on the left and a butler's pantry on the right.
Calacatta Gold marble countertops surround the apron-front sink in the cleanup area of the main kitchen. A bridge-style faucet introduces shine and shapely interest; its spout-on-legs style has a practical purpose, too, allowing room to fill extra-tall pots.
In addition to countertops of marble and walnut, a third material boosts the beauty quotient around the range: Soapstone countertops hide stains while offering a look that's low-key and elegant. Subway tiles provide a vintage-style backdrop on the backsplash that's easy to clean.
Symmetry adds tranquility to a work core, as this kitchen wall demonstrates. Bracketed by a stainless-steel freezer and a paneled built-in refrigerator, this hutchlike configuration of cabinetry serves as a snack bar, with a microwave oven neatly tucked into the center. Everyday dishware is easy to access on open shelves.
An alcove beside the built-in refrigerator harbors a desk for a small office area. Open shelves hold cookbooks and baskets for storage. The computer sends grocery lists to a printer stowed in the walk-in pantry. Stopping upper cabinetry short of the ceiling allows space for displaying collectibles.
Creating a separate room for baking keeps messes contained while providing an intimate space for cooking creativity. A marble countertop is a cool surface for rolling out pastry dough, while the lower walnut counter serves as an easy-on-the-back prep spot. Charming wire inserts in upper cabinet doors offer ventilation for stored items. The eye-level oven opens from the side for accessibility.
The barrel-vault ceiling, arched window, and glazed subway tiles give the tiny baking room an old-world feel. The tiles, which cover the walls and the ceiling, are practical, too, allowing splatters to be quickly wiped away. A sink in this room doubles as the perfect place for flower arranging.
Located across from the baking room, a spacious walk-in pantry features a grand entrance -- French doors with a leaded-glass transom -- that's flanked by shelves of cookbooks.
The kitchen's separate butler's pantry offers a galley-style work area that features a beverage center with a built-in coffee machine and wine chiller. Refrigerator and freezer drawers make the space handy for extra helpers during dinner parties.
A second dishwasher in the butler's pantry is programmed for cleaning fine china and crystal, which is housed in the glass-front cabinetry above. Faucets at this small bar sink -- and throughout the main kitchen and baking room -- relate in finish and style but don't match in an effort to create the feel of a space that evolved over many years.
A separate breakfast room, just off the main kitchen, is warmed by a fireplace with a raised stone hearth. Cabinetry close to the table stores dishes, flatware, and linens.