Harmony in a Zen Kitchen

Designer Jessica Kalina used hues of blue, slabs of granite and a surprising bargain item to turn an oversized space into a warm, harmonious kitchen.

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All About

The precious but pricey: The granite Jessica employed on the kitchen's island counter is some of the most rare and expensive stone in the world: Blue Bahia from Brazil, a beautiful draw for the core of the room. "It's farmed from the bottom of the Caribbean and costs around $200 per square foot," she says.

The budget-balancing beauty: "The UltraCraft cabinetry is made in Liberty, N.C., and looks like bird's-eye maple, but it's actually Thermafoil, PVC preprinted with that pattern. The real stuff is cross-cut, so it's one of the most expensive woods you can buy, but this material is cheaper than the least expensive wood, which is oak." Thermafoil comes in many other different finishes, too, notes Jessica, like dark cherry or white paint. "Because it's formed with heat and pressure, it doesn't breathe like real wood does, so it doesn't expand or contract in extreme temperatures," she says. "It's also very easy to wash."