A business trip to San Francisco and a visit to that city's Museum of Modern Art inspired the homeowners to go with crisp stainless steel and a black-and-blond color scheme for the room. Glossy black granite countertops and wall ovens with black glass doors stand out in sharp contrast to the red birch cabinets. To unify the various zones within the space, Brenneman covered the floor with 12-inch-square terra-cotta tiles. Architect Brenneman prefers custom over semi-custom cabinets. "When you're renovating a house, the walls are never smooth and the floors are never level," he explains. "You've got to make prefabricated components fit, which involves extra labor. We've found that semi-custom is really no cheaper." Because she is short and didn't want to have to haul out a step stool to reach the top shelves, the wife requested that the wall cabinets be hung at a lower than normal height. To meet the couple's culinary needs, Brenneman chose professional-quality appliances clad in stainless steel, including a pair of warming drawers installed under the cooktop. Nearby are a pair of stacking wall ovens and a microwave, plus a garage for small appliances. Finishing Touches
Upgrading the lighting from the old rectangular fluorescent fixture "was tricky,' recalls Brenneman. "Because we left the original ceiling alone and this part of the house is only one story, we couldn't rewire easily." His solution: monopoint fixtures installed on mounting plates, plus task lighting beneath the wall cabinets. Today the kitchen blends seamlessly with the rest of the house — as the wife hoped it would. "We had 24 people over last Thanksgiving," she says, "and the kitchen made it easy."
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