When called in to rescue homeowners from their “disjointed” kitchen, Jennifer Gilmer was forced to think outside of the box. Multiple additions to the Tudor residence in Chevy Chase, Maryland, had left it with a small galley kitchen that opened to a larger kitchen with plenty of prep space—but no stove. “My client was forced to cook in the smallest part of this huge space,” Gilmer explains. “It was the worst case I’ve seen in my kitchen career.”
During the design phase, Gilmer discovered that the crux of the problem was a supporting brick wall that enclosed the galley kitchen. After an engineer determined that the wall could be removed as long as additional structural support was added, Gilmer convinced her clients to tear it down, opening up the irregularly shaped kitchen into a cohesive whole.
In its place, Gilmer designed an efficient wall housing the refrigerator, freezer drawers, a wall oven and cabinetry. A large angled island makes cooking and entertaining a breeze. While CaesarStone tops the workspace, the breakfast bar is made of walnut. “I always tell people to make breakfast bars with a wood top,” says Gilmer. “It’s very uncomfortable putting dishes on granite.” She offset dark walnut cabinets—chosen to complement the tenor of the Tudor home—with innovative materials such as a glass-tile backsplash and panels of acid-etched mirrored glass that depending on the light “go from gray to green to blue to reflective,” according to Gilmer. A butler’s pantry that replaced the former galley kitchen is perfect for entertaining; during parties; the wife stows dirty dishes there—and closes the door.
She is now “ecstatic” about her new kitchen, says Gilmer. “A lot of people try to fight the shape and make a squared-off kitchen in an angled space. I tell my clients that the space tells us what it wants. You have to honor the space.”
Photographer Bob Narod is based in Herndon, Virginia
KITCHEN DESIGN: JENNIFER GILMER, CKD, Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath Ltd., Chevy Chase, Maryland. Contractor: M.R. Thornton & Sons, Inc, Woodbine, Maryland.