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A Contemporary Kitchen Provides a Durable and Beautiful Retreat for This Family of Five
The terrain of Tucson offers up rough edges and
hardscrabble surfaces. It’s no wonder the family to whom this
kitchen belongs wanted a chic oasis to contrast with the moun-
tainous desert vista viewed outside the home’s windows.
The architect for this home created a structure with crisp
lines, hard edges, and cool surfaces. Lori Carroll of Lori
Carroll & Associates was inspired by the architect’s use of ma-
terials, which became the jumping-off points for her design in-
spiration. The exposed beams, the sandy brick tones, and the
use of natural light all played a part in her choices of texture,
color, and materials.
“This was the second home where I worked with these
clients, so there was a great relationship between us,” Carroll
says. “They trusted me, so they let me do my thing.”
You can understand their trust, considering how the inspired
choice of bright green contrasts so beautifully with the steely
gray that dominates the room. “My addition of green tones to
the room brought a ‘pow’ of color to the palette,” Carroll says.
“We found a carpet for their office [in another part of the house]
that had that color in it. That’s where we pulled the accent.”
The green shows up in the wall at the far end of the room and
in the vibrant accessories on the display shelves. The lemons,
limes, and daisies add a citrus pop to the palette.
The kitchen’s surfaces are sleek, yet durable—essential for
any family with teen and preteen children. “With three kids,
the family wanted ease of maintenance, and that’s where the
concrete floors came in,” says Carroll.The concrete can take a
beating, but that doesn’t stop it from adding to the room’s
beauty.The color of the concrete is a custom shade created by
the manufacturer.The high sheen was achieved during the fin-
ishing process.The lines on the floor create movement that plays
against the contemporary lines of the space. Concrete again
makes an appearance in the countertop behind the banquette.
Flecks of stainless metal were added to the mix to provide
shimmer and shine.
Like concrete, vinyl is another surface that one may not im-
mediately equate with beauty, but the metallic material used on
the banquette smashes preconceived notions about the fabric.
The vinyl’s texture is meant to mimic ostrich skin, and it offers
a sheen and texture that adds interest to the informal seating
area. The metal used on the banquette is stainless steel, and a
round of glass tops the table.
The tabletop is not the only touch of glass to be found in the
room. Opaque glass fronts several cabinets, offering another
eye-catching surface while still hiding clutter when necessary.
A graphite gray color was chosen for all theViking appliances,
and the cabinetry is a close match. Stainless steel appliances al-
most have become a cliché, which makes the graphite an
exciting choice. Steel—showing up in the hardware, fixtures,
and banquette table—becomes an eye-catching accent to
the graphite gray.
As the roundness of the banquette softens the room’s lines,
the shape of the secondary sink serves the same purpose.The
free-flow form provides a handy spot for ice and drinks when
the family entertains. Curves make an appearance multiple
times in the room. “I used roundness to soften the features of
the room,” Carroll says. “The sharp angles can be too much, too
harsh.”The shape of the banquette and the curve of the chairs
around it show a softness of shape. The cabinetry hardware is
rounded, as is the curved wall at the far end of the kitchen.
Shine is another theme carried throughout the design.The
stainless metal used as an accent, the glistening flecks found in
the concrete countertop, the glistening surface of the granite,
the facets of the light fixtures, and the sheen of the floor all add
a sparkle that echoes the natural light that flows in through the
room’s many windows.
“For me, it’s very important that I design what my clients
want, not what I want,” says Carroll. She achieved her goal with
this design.The family has found their desert oasis in this sturdy
yet stunning kitchen.
MAY 2010