Simplified Design Lets Nature Speak

Clean, classic styling minimizes chaos to take full advantage of the tropical backyard view in this kitchen.

TEQUESTA, FL — The full-length windows peeking above and below the upper cabinets in this kitchen had long been a design feature in this waterfront Tequesta, FL home, giving the homeowners a glimpse of their lush, tropical backyard and the crystal clear water a few steps beyond. However, the previous kitchen design was so complicated and busy that the view was regrettably lost in all of the chaos.


“This kitchen is in a large, open house,” says Wendy Manley, CKD, Waterview Kitchens, in Tequesta, FL. “There is greenery on all sides of it, but there was so much going on in the kitchen that you didn’t even pick up on that detail.”

When it came time for a remodel, Manley took the opportunity to simplify the design, minimizing its elements to let the outside in.

“It’s an amazing piece of property,” she says. “We didn’t want to sacrifice the view, so we updated the space in a classic way so it didn’t read heavy and overdone. We kept everything simple, with clean lines and neutral colors so the greenery can be accented.”

At its foundation, the Frosty White Crystal Cabinet Works’ cabinetry helps set the tone and lines the perimeter of the kitchen. Its matte finish combines with a timeless design style that boasts a beaded inset. “The cabinetry is very classic, subtle and clean,” notes the designer.

The upper tier appears to float, given the full-width windows above and below it. “The new design maintains the view, without losing upper cabinets,” she says.

A few strategically placed glass-front upper cabinets illuminated with LED lighting showcase some of the homeowners’ special items while a clear, open expanse above the 48″ Wolf range grounds the potfiller and gives the homeowners a place to hang artwork. “She’s still looking for just the right piece,” says Manley. “Once she finds it, she’ll have the perfect spot for it. This open space gives the opportunity
for a lot of different things.”

Perimeter base cabinetry also frames a Bosch dishwasher, a Wolf microwave drawer and warming drawer and a Sub-Zero wine cooler.

Additionally, Manley created a ‘communication center’ with a bulletin board framed by cabinetry on an end panel of the 36″ Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. “The family can post notes, grocery lists, ‘honey-do’ lists, etc.,” she says. “It’s a great way for everyone to keep in touch with each other.”

A door just to the right of the communication center and refrigerator/freezer leads to a new butler’s pantry, which provides plenty of storage with an abundance of open shelves. “It’s a great location because it’s located between the garage and kitchen,” she notes.

Crystal Cabinet Works’ cabinets are repeated at the island, this time in a contrasting Raisin stain on cherry wood, which coordinate with the dark stained ceiling beams and natural wood floor. “The ceiling is so high that the beams help bring it down so the space feels a bit more intimate,” she says. “Their dark color matches the island and helps pull everything together.”

Manley topped the island cabinets with Pompeii Statuario quartz. “The veining in the Statuario is such a nice complement to the greenery and classic lines of the design,” she points out. “And I wanted the island to stand out from the more subtle Misterio quartz used as countertops on the perimeter.”

Manley added a 3″ mitered edge to give the island ‘weight,’ which she felt was needed for such a large, central element. “A thin countertop would have felt lost,” she notes. “I needed the thicker edge to ground the island.”

Choosing quartz also adds practicality for her on-the-go clients, who are a blended family with high school- and college-age kids. “They are a very active family,” she states. “Everyone is always coming and going, with their own busy schedule. Quartz is such a practical answer to countertops now. It’s primarily what we use, especially for busy families. It doesn’t absorb anything and it doesn’t need to be resurfaced or sealed.”

The island also provides an abundance of storage, including hidden storage for trays, a trash pull-out and electric outlets for charging laptops, phones, etc. It also accommodates the main sink and seating for three to four family members, depending on which family members are home at the time. Three seats comfortably fit in the recessed area on the living room side of the island. A fourth seat can be added to one side, where Manley creatively added a recessed alcove with pocket doors that can accommodate a chair or stool when opened and conceals the space when closed. “He wanted to be able to sit at the island and watch TV or plug in his computer,” says Manley. “But stools in the main seating area have their backs to the TV. With this special seating area, he can easily turn and watch TV, then close up the space when he’s done, making it look like cabinetry. Pocket doors are great to use to conceal a lot of different things.”

Manley purposefully eliminated any pendant lighting over the island, opting for ceiling lights instead. “The ceiling is so high that pendants would have been difficult,” she maintains. “There is plenty of natural light that flows into the space. We also added undercabinet and above cabinet lighting, in addition to the lights in the ceiling, so there is plenty of light for working in the kitchen.” 


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