For many people, the kitchen is the undisputed heart of the home. It’s where we whip up family meals, gather during cocktail parties and set up impromptu after-school homework stations. In redesigning this oh-so-90s family kitchen, Jamie Stauffer skipped the familiar white on white approach and instead chose warm wood cabinets and textural countertops to create a lived in, country inspired kitchen, striking the perfect balance between understated elegance and antique charm.
As owner and designer of Stauffer Design Co., Stauffer knew from the onset of the project that major changes were required to achieve the desired effect. “Everything in the home was in a cherry stain, so the floors were stained cherry and the cabinetry was stained cherry,” says Stauffer. The cherry-stained kitchen was accompanied by a sea of beige—from the countertops to the backsplash to the paint on the walls. "I had to start completely over and build something new,” Stauffer says.
To open up the space, Stauffer removed the wall separating the kitchen and the living room and added the island to make up for lost storage. The walls got a refreshing update with a soft neutral color and for a twist on the traditional, Stauffer skipped the shaker cabinets, opting instead for paneled doors with a heavy white oak grain. “I feel like my biggest risk was doing the cabinetry that I did,” says Stauffer. “I don’t really love painted cabinetry, so I try and steer away from that.”
For the kitchen island, Stauffer selected a granite countertop with a leather feel, creating an added layer of richness and texture. “It’s really cool because you can run your hand across it and your fingers move up and down as you go across,” says Stauffer. She used the same leathered granite on the fireplace, which sits directly across from the kitchen island in the home’s living room.
For the perimeter countertops, Stauffer worked with Ozark based Favrstone to install an unpolished, honed black granite. “We were looking at doing the backsplash out of the same material as the countertops but going all the way up to the bottom of the hood,” says Stauffer. At the last minute, she had the idea to add a shelf rather than taking the backsplash all the way up. When her installation team told her they had never worked on such a design, she knew she had to do it. “That was like music to my ears,” says Stauffer. “If [they'd] never done it, I’m going to be the first one to do it.’”