Bright and Functional Kitchen

Designer Marianne Brown designs a bright and simple kitchen to accommodate large family gatherings with a round island for food prep and plenty of niches for added storage.

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CI_Marianne-Brown_lead-white-kitchen_s4x3 Photography by Emily Wallace

Marianne Brown tackles her own kitchen for her first project as an interior designer. Her main focus was making the U-shaped layout an efficient space for regularly entertaining large groups of family and friends.

The addition of a unique, custom island made of Super White Quartzite for extra food prep surface plus high-end appliances produced a classic and functional kitchen that's perfect for family get-togethers.

Browse Pictures from this Kitchen Remodel

What were the main design items on your wish list?

This was a remodel of my own kitchen. We wanted a bright, clean, and simple space with high-end appliances and classic finishes. With a large extended family, we needed an area where multiple people could be prepping food for a party. We also needed a space for buffet-style events.

What was the single largest issue you wanted to address?

I needed to think outside the box about how we were going to lay out the kitchen to fulfill our needs. There is an immovable fireplace wall that narrows the space, limiting our ability to create an open kitchen that is suitable for entertaining. We added the round island to offset the U-shape of the room and added a bench instead of barstools so it looks a little different than what you usually see.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

We knew that we definitely wanted an island to be used as a food prep area although the U-shape of the kitchen proved to be bothersome in the overall design because it narrowed the space. I came across a photo of a kitchen that had two smaller round islands in it and I immediately knew that was how I was going to get my island in. We had it custom made and absolutely LOVE it. It's our favorite thing in the kitchen.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

The end result turned out almost better than what we originally imagined. In the beginning, we wanted a pendant light in the kitchen, but decided against it and opted for recessed lights instead. We also really wanted to do Carrera Marble as our countertop but needed something more resilient because we have small children. We chose Super White Quartzite which is much more durable; kind of like granite. I almost like the look better than Carrera!

Did you encounter any surprises that could impact future projects?

I was surprised by the timelines and amount of detail that goes into a home remodel. I also had a hard time imagining the space and what I really wanted when all I was looking at in the home was a blank space. It taught me that you really need to develop the unique skill of being able to envision how a space is going to come together long before it is even close to being finished. I feel lucky to have that talent.

What are the "hidden gems" that made a big difference?

I love the open shelving. The brushed brass hardware balances out the coolness of the quartzite countertops and marble backsplash. I especially like those fabulous red knobs on the Wolf range and the grill on the top of the Sub Zero fridge. The turned legs on the island are unique and the mantel shelf on the island hood is the perfect spot to display artwork and gives the kitchen a more classic, traditional feel.

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