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Question of balance

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Traditional kitchen, distressed paint finish


Even when you have plenty of space for a new kitchen, you need to be sure everything is in proportion.

This large kitchen replaces a much smaller one that looked out of place tucked away at the end of a generous, open-plan family living area.

Interior designer and owner Terri Miller says the original kitchen was not only too small, but was also very dated, with intrusive white appliances.

"There were good things to capitalize on, however, such as the Mediterranean influence that is evident throughout the house. The ceilings are wonderfully high, with vaulted elements, the doorways are arched and there are substantial concrete columns between the kitchen and the formal dining room. But even these features needed redecorating to better suit the character of the house."

Miller extended the size of the kitchen cabinets and added a long island that runs parallel to the windows. The new handcrafted wood cabinetry is much more substantial and taller than the original. In keeping with the look of the house, it has a distressed paint finish with a handpainted custom glaze. Key appliances are integrated into the cabinets, including a refrigerator and freezer in matching units either side of a glazed door leading to a patio.


The cabinets are teamed with Copper Legnio granite countertops, while the island bar top is a solid, single piece of walnut. This wood also appears as an accent on display cabinetry opposite.

"The walnut helps to warm the kitchen visually," says Miller. "For the same reason, the custom hood above the large range has a warm patina. This comes from eight coats of wax over Venetian plaster.

Miller says the large size of the hood is a response to the scale of the space.

"Because it is so big, we needed something substantial to hold up that end of the room. The mantel and corbels were specially crafted to complement the cast stone that appears throughout the house."

Miller introduced a bar cabinet, which has two refrigerator drawers for drinks, an icemaker and a wine captain. Glassware is displayed behind leaded glass doors in the mirror-backed cabinets above.

The vaulted ceilings were recoated with a rust-brown Venetian plaster, and one also features gold stenciling. The vaulted elements are illuminated, which amplifies the warm rusty tones.

The columns were soda blasted to remove the original "prison gray" and now have a decorative faux paint finish that is an appropriate backdrop to the formal dining area.

First published date: 30 May 2014

Credit List

Architect Terry Tracy, Terry Tracy Architect (Napa, CA)
Interior and kitchen designer Terri Miller, Grace Miller Interiors
Builder Ellis Construction
Cabinet company Walden & Co
Cabinetry Wood with distressed finish, handpainted custom glaze from Becker Acroma Coatings
Decorative mouldings Enkeboll
Leaded glass artist Pat McCoy
Mirror, glass shelving Décor Glass
Hardware Cabinet hardware by Robert Schaub; Corinthian and Ancient Bronze hardware from Belmont Hardware; door hardware by Rocky Mountain
Countertops Copper Legnio granite fabricated by Surface Art; solid walnut bar top features WaterLox coatings
Backsplash Bronze Rocky Mountain tile laid by Bob Spoor Masonry & Tile
Flooring Philadelphia stone
Wall tiles Bronze from Rocky Mountain
Doors and windows Marvin
Bar stools and dining furniture Baker
Lighting Thern Electric; lanterns and chandelier by Ebanista
Sink and faucets Rocky Mountain solid cast bronze
Oven and cooktop Wolf
Ventilation Wolf customized by Bell Products; decorative hood fabricated by Ellis Construction with plaster and decorative paint by Caroline Lizarraga
Dishwashers Fisher & Paykel
Refrigeration Sub-Zero