Where do I begin with this kitchen? I truly love this space so, so much. Because we had a hefty budget and full design authority, I wanted to create the kitchen of my dreams, Charleston-style. Dave and I agreed at the start of this competition to design and build this home for a family. And, the most important room in any home is the kitchen. It needed to be beautiful, functional, spacious and family-friendly. I needed to incorporate the coastal feel of Charleston, along with the history of this special city.
I chose all of my favorite artisan-made items to give this kitchen character. The brass faucet and stone sink feel like antique pieces and are crafted by hand in a 135 year old church building in Vermont, the mosaic tile backsplash is handcrafted in Morocco, the chandelier of tiered coco shells was meticulously made by hand, and the dining table was built by Dave with the help of our sons in the yard of our AirBnB in the evenings after we worked at the house all day. All of these elements create a warm, collected, and timeless kitchen.
The focal point of the kitchen and the forefront of my entire design is the 60″ blue-gray range. Once I was able to get this range, I knew it would set the tone: coastal, sophisticated and classic. I chose the neutral, yet warm, grey-taupe cabinet color to complement the range without distracting from it. Then, we turned the entire layout of the kitchen in order to maximize the space and allow anyone cooking in here to look directly outside to the amazing patio and outdoor space (to come!). And, we added two large picture windows for natural light… the kitchen is flooded in the most gorgeous light throughout the day!
Standing in this kitchen, I can already hear the sound of glasses clinking and friends laughing. I can hear the pitter patter of little feet playing chase around the large island. I can hear the giggles and the music floating in from outdoor speakers. I can imagine the kitchen dance parties, the family dinners, the Thanksgiving meals… this is a kitchen made for living. It’s beautiful, yes, but it’s practical too. I pray that the family who ends up living here has many, many wonderful moments right here in this special space.
This is the space that we think sealed the win for us. If you have seen our work before, you know how much we love hidden, unexpected spaces. The moment we found the wasted space under the stairs, we knew we had to incorporate it into our plans!
This spot was originally a powder bathroom (with the entrance around the corner) and we both agreed that it would be much better utilized as a walk-in pantry. Stay tuned for where we moved the powder bath – I promise we didn’t get rid of it, we just moved it to a better location :)!
After moving the powder bath, we knew we needed a beautiful old door for the pantry entrance because it would be smack-dab in the middle of my kitchen “range wall.” What you didn’t see on camera (because of lack of time within the episode) is that we actually went to the architectural salvage store during our first “Ty Challenge.” Each team had 30 minutes and $500 to spend on something that we had to incorporate into our kitchen design. Dave and I were on a mission to find the perfect door for the pantry. Once we stripped off the old paint, it provided the warmth and character we knew the kitchen needed.
Now, the pantry itself is impressive – Dave built all of the custom shelving and there is plenty of storage (I dream of a pantry like this!) BUT the beauty of this pantry is the hidden entrance to an large, unused space under the stairs. This space is too low and awkward to have incorporated into the actual pantry so we decided to hide it with a door lined with shelving and then create a fun play area for kids (of course, it could be used for extra storage … but the kid area is just way more fun!). Every kid LOVES a hidden fort and every parent with young children LOVES a play area right near the kitchen so they can prep dinner in peace while kiddos play happily nearby.
We designed this home for a family and this pantry really set the stage for how a family can live well and make joyful memories here.
(Just for fun – as soon as I found out who our judges were, I called my sister and had her go to my childhood home to dig my old NKOTB dolls and posters down from storage. She mailed them to me in Charleston and I hid them around the corner in the hidden space to surprise Jordan and Jonathan. I figured they’d either think it was really funny or really creepy. It was a comical risk. Ha! Thankfully, they both laughed and appreciated the hilarity of the little hidden moment!)
This little space was originally designated as a “drop zone.” Dave and I both agreed that a drop zone didn’t make sense off the kitchen (far from the front door/garage) and decided to create a little service bar here instead.
We actually kept the original builder-grade cabinets and then Dave built a new cabinet face and new doors out of white oak. We also added caning for extra detail and texture.
Then, during our “architectural salvage challenge” we had around $60 left over after purchasing the pantry door and found these old steel boxes that we built into the lower cabinet. We called them “bourbon drawers” for bourbon storage with a twist. They are unique, old and original to the Charleston area – all things we love!
I chose this handmade tile backsplash because it’s classic and beautiful – giving the space a coastal and timeless look.
Range | Ilve
Faucet & Sink | Atmosphyre
Backsplash Tile | Bespoke Studio
Pendant Lights & Chandelier | Serena & Lily
Cabinet Hardware | Emtek
Hardwood Flooring | Bruce
Fridge & Dishwasher | Wholesale Appliance Center
Dining Table | Dave Marrs
Dining Chairs | Celadon Home
Counter Stools & Sweetgrass basket | Showhomes of Charleston
Vintage Rug Runner | Zuma Imports
Dish Towel | The Loomia
Clementine Wall Decals | Designs By Maya
Cabinet Paint Color | Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter
Photographer: Margaret Wright