In a kitchen by Savena Doychinov, a Milano hood by Zephyr makes a dramatic statement.
AFTER: Plenty of large windows bathe the new kitchen in light.
AFTER: A new open plan connects the kitchen to the dining room, with plenty of storage cabinets.
BEFORE: The kitchen's peninsula lacked seating and impeded free movement between spaces.
BEFORE: The kitchen suffered from dated appliances and limited light from its small windows.
BEFORE: With its builder-grade cabinets and finishes, the original kitchen was inefficient and drab.
BEFORE: Cooking took place in a cramped, out-of-the-way area in the large but inefficient space.

5 Cool Kitchens: A Crafted Look

Savena Doychinov gives a disjointed kitchen a new lease on life


A disjointed Oakton, Virginia, kitchen lacked a direct route to the dining room. It also suffered from outdated appliances, a shortage of natural light, and an obtrusive peninsula with no space for seating. The frustrated owners called on kitchen designer Savena Doychinov for a total overhaul.

Her ambitious plan would improve functionality and circulation between the kitchen and the rest of the house. It involved the removal and replacement of the existing kitchen’s walls and the installation of two French doors and a triple window to bathe the space in natural light. The project demanded major structural work. “A lot of things that you don’t see had to be done to ensure proper support and quality construction,” says Doychinov.

The open design centers on a large island housing the cooktop and a breakfast bar. A wide doorway flanked by glass-fronted cabinetry leads to the dining room, while an adjacent wall features a 90-inch-long, counter-height divider between the kitchen and den. Where a closet once contained the laundry and basic shelving, Doychinov installed a refrigerator and freezer drawers, a speed oven and a pull-out pantry. 

Her clients requested a “handcrafted, Asian” look that would not be too contemporary for their Colonial home. Doychinov rimmed the upper cabinets with cherry planks and selected warm, organic materials, from wrought-iron hardware to honed Pietra Gray marble countertops. “You want to modernize and upgrade, but you have to respect the existing architecture,” she says. “I think we hit a happy medium.” 

The National Kitchen and Bath Association clearly agreed: The organization bestowed its “Best Before and After” award for 2011 on this cheerful, innovative project. 

Photographer Bob Narod is based in Herndon, Virginia.

KITCHEN DESIGN: Savena Doychinov, CKD, principal; Dimiter Doychinov, project manager, Design Studio International Kitchen & Bath, LLC, Falls Church, Virginia. 


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