Warm Modern

_EBV3990Clean lines and warm tones combine in an exceptional kitchen.

Written by Brett Levine     

Photography by Edward Badham


Creating a dream kitchen is something that can change the entire experience of a home, and for Lance and Amanda Black, their kitchen remodel proved that. Black, who is an architect, and his wife, who is an interior designer, tackled the project themselves, even acting as their own general contractors.

Since the home is set on a gently sloping lot, the kitchen itself is actually part of an expansive open-plan living space accessed by stepping down a few stairs. Once on the lower level, the kitchen becomes an integral part of the experience, a centerpiece of family living.

As Lance Black explains, “the kitchen is a true working kitchen, with everything from the kids helping to make homemade meatballs to the occasional wine spill.” The necessity of a comfortable space led to an approach that blended functionality with aesthetics. “The countertops are natural quartzite, which has a similar durability to granite but with some of the variability and beauty of marble,” he shares. The material is carried throughout the kitchen and onto a custom island, unifying the space.

The island was a particular challenge. “It is certainly the centerpiece of the kitchen,” Black says, “but where it is it had no access to electricity.” The solution was to trench the slab and to run electrical through one of the island’s legs, providing power to the mixers, blenders, and other electric devices that would be used. The island was also set on 10-inch steel legs to increase the perception of openness and visual lightness. Bertoia wire stools complete the open look.

Part of the renovation included the addition of a walk-in pantry, something that the home initially lacked. Inside is something that is described as a pot rack, but it might better be described as a pot garage. A wall of pegboard holds cooking utensils of every conceivable shape and size. “This is one of my wife Amanda’s favorite features,” Black says, “simply because she doesn’t have to dig through stacks of pans to find what she is looking for.”

Back in the main space, dark grey porcelain tile floors sit comfortably with the slate tiles that are found throughout the rest of the house. The porcelain backsplash tile covers the wall behind the cooktop from counter to ceiling and, in a surprising sense of design unity and playfulness, is found again on the front kick panel of the breakfast bar.

Anchoring it all are the custom Italian Rosewood cabinets made by Ted Gibbs. With no upper cabinets at all, each is a study in functionality. Behind the cabinet doors are drawers for ease of use. It all comes together in what the homeowners describe as “warm modern.” “There are no elaborate crown moldings and no trim work. It is just a collection of clean, modern lines. At the same time,” Black explains, “we wanted it to be warmer, rather than just a collection things that were cool, white, and contemporary.”

Finally, lighting it all is a pair of Bel Occhio pendants. They add a small flash to the soft, natural warmth of the other tones. Indeed, Lance and Amanda Black’s kitchen is an exceptional example of warm modern.

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