INTERIOR DESIGN - Ornate Detail Abounds In A Traditional Kitchen

The renovated kitchen features a turreted breakfast room with an antique iron chandelier. Opposite the range, a copper prep sink with a built-in cutting board makes cooking a breeze.


The ability to tackle a million details at once is one of the hallmarks of a good kitchen designer. And in a kitchen where the design is driven by a high level of decorative detail, the challenge is even greater. Such was the case in a Great Falls, Virginia, home where kitchen designer Lois Kennedy and interior designer Maria Galiani collaborated on a kitchen brimming with Old World style. Their client had toured a kitchen Kennedy designed years ago in a National Symphony Orchestra show house, and loved its Gothic elements—especially the chestnut range hood hand-carved with a griffin motif. She wanted to achieve a similar look in her home. 

Curved cabinets conceal a built-in water cooler; additional storage lockers lead to the family entrance and mudroom.

 The designers got to work, first figuring out how to transform the lackluster kitchen into a larger, more functional space. Kennedy’s colleague Victoria Feldman drew up plans to bump out the odd, triangular room into the backyard to gain space. She also created a new breakfast room housed in a turret framed by windows.

The main sink overlooks the backyard through windows with hand-forged iron trim. As their design took shape, Galiani and Kennedy devised ways to marry today’s state-of-the-art amenities with the handcrafted, traditional look their client desired. Behind the custom finishes, the carefully planned layout revolves around the demands of a busy family with two active teenagers. A large L-shaped island features raised tables built into either end for casual dining on stools. The side of the island closest to the refrigerator and range houses an oversized copper prep sink with built-in cutting and drainage boards and a dishwasher—one of two in the kitchen—to make cooking and clean-up a breeze. Cabinets conceal 21st-century conveniences, from a full-size water cooler to a microwave, coffee maker and trash and recycling bins. 

Custom details adorn the crackled and distressed cabinetry, from barley twists to carved moldings and iron hardware.


“We spent hours and hours mulling over the tiniest details,” says Galiani. Throughout the kitchen, travertine floors, iron, copper and distressed wood materials evoke a Baroque Mediterranean style, as do architectural details such as barley twists, moldings and medallions. The kitchen incorporates nine different doors styles, hardware from 11 different manufacturers and trim from eight sources.

Kennedy attributes the success of the project to “having a cabinetmaker who doesn’t say ‘no.’” Pennsylvania-based Premier Custom Built incorporated all of the trim and hardware the designers sent them, then began a seven-step finishing process to create the distressed, crackle finish on the light caramel maple cabinets and the deeper hue on the darker butternut accent pieces.



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