For 15 years after moving into this modern two-story suburban home, the owners made do with the stark and dated all-white kitchen that came with it. while they saved up money toward a renovation, the husband and wife (both love to cook—she's in charge of sweets, he handles the savories) compiled a list of complaints about the existing space. The laminate cabinets were "yucky and junky," according to the husband; a long peninsula blocked traffic between the food-prep and eating areas; and the appliances and floor tiles were way overdue for replacement. Finally, after a cabinet door broke off two years ago, the couple decided to take the plunge—with the help of Manhattan-based kitchen designer Bob Schwartz of St. Charles New York. First, Schwartz refined the layout by moving a door that leads to the dining room and reconfiguring the furnishings and appliances around an island instead of a peninsula, as before. "Now there are clear pathways and we don't bump into each other," says the husband. In terms of aesthetics, Schwartz says, "They wanted a warmer look." So he specified light-cherry custom cabinetry and Italian Crema valencia marble countertops: "The light beige tone and beautiful white and orange veining of the marble complement the woodwork while providing contrast," the designer explains. The couple chose top-of-the-line stainless appliances, some of which Schwartz masked with custom panels that match the cabinets for a unified look. Two finishing touches: an intricate mosaic floor done in 3/8-inch marble tiles—all in colors that harmonize with those of the work surfaces—was chosen to add texture to the large, 300-square-foot room, and a low-maintenance lava-stone tabletop, was selected to reinforce the reddish-orange hue of the cherry wood used for the cabinets.
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