The L-shaped kitchen takes full advantage of its small but well-planned layout, with the work triangle.
A cooktop is tucked into one leg of the L; the family room lies beyond.
A wine fridge is conveniently located by the island for easy entertaining. White, ceiling-height cabinets create abundant storage and highlight the statement-making backsplash tile; part of Ann Sacks’ Benton Mosaics collection, it combines White Thassos and Nero Marquina marble.

Small Wonder

Studio Miel reimagines a cramped kitchen with functionality and pizzazz

The owners of a row house in Northwest DC’s Shaw neighborhood were ready to update its dysfunctional kitchen, which was dingy and dated with a dearth of storage. “They host friends and family constantly,” notes principal Nancy Harper, who spearheaded the change while also reworking other areas of the home. “We redid the layout of the kitchen to accommodate their lifestyle.”

Budget and space constraints drove the design, which stayed within the footprint of the original kitchen. Housed in a previous addition, the kitchen and family room share an open plan; an airy seating area is located beyond the island. “The clients chose to spend on materials, fixtures and hardware rather than on structural changes,” the designer explains.

However, though the kitchen’s relatively small size was fixed, Harper and her team still managed a dramatic alteration. They began by relocating the cooktop from its exposed spot on the island to an interior wall. “The wife wanted the island for gathering, serving and making drinks,” Harper recounts, “and she wanted to get the cooktop out of the way to avoid cooking in the middle of her guests.” The designer incorporated a number of smart kitchen-storage solutions within ceiling-height Yorktowne cabinetry.

Bold, geometric Ann Sacks backsplash tile in black-and-white marble set the tone for the new kitchen, which feels fresh, youthful and fun. Durable Caesarstone countertops impart the marble look the husband requested. Pendants from Circa Lighting feature gold interiors that pick up the tones of the hardware and Waterstone faucet. Stools by Article complete the look.


Kitchen Design: Nancy Harper, Studio Miel, Washington, DC. Contractor: Expertiers Design & Build, LLC, Rockville, Maryland.