Designer Stephanie Marsh Fillbrandt with Marsh and Clark is our guest at Home and Living today. We welcome her and we will talk about a recent project involving two kitchens (and we are always happy to talk about the most popular room in the house)!
Q.: Stephanie, thanks for visiting. We love when designers stop by and you have an interesting project to tell us about?
S.: Yes, a client recently approached us to completely renovate an Edwardian duplex. What made the project interesting was the similarity of the two floor layouts. Because they were almost identical, we were left with the question as to how similar or different the two units should be. Ultimately, we decided to give each unit a unique feel.
Q.: Two-part question here: Why did the client seek you out? Where did you begin for kitchen design?
S.: The client had seen some of our other projects and particularly liked a kitchen we designed for a Victorian home in San Francisco’s historic Cow Hollow district. They appreciated they way we created a modern kitchen that complimented the classic setting.
Q.: I think this was an Edwardian type property, correct? How does a contemporary kitchen fit into that milieu?
S.: Yes, the property is a quintessential Edwardian so the challenge was making the two styles work in concert, with seamless transitions from room to room. Selecting classic, quality materials is key. For example, the beautiful Carrara marble 2 x 6 inch “subway” tiles give the space a modern touch that’s perfectly in tune with the home’s classic bones. Rich wood and simple hardware, with subtle details, creates a transitional look with enough detailing to respect the home’s Edwardian pedigree, but clean enough to satisfy someone with a modern aesthetic sensibility.
Ultimately materials are the main thing that date a kitchen.
Q.: When these two kitchens are put side by side, they feel very different; can you talk about that?
S.: With the similarity of the first-level floor plans, we wanted to give each kitchen a distinct personality. Rustic light fixtures combined with warmer paint colors and cabinet finishes give the lower kitchen a more casual, vintage feel. In the upper unit, dark espresso cabinets, cool paint colors, and a sparkling light fixture endow the space with a sleek sophistication.
Q.: Since kitchens are often the hub of activity, what is your mission overall?
S.: The primary goal for any kitchen is to create a safe, comfortable and functional workspace. In the case of these two kitchens, we had a good amount of room to work with so we included extra-large islands that provide, not only needed workspace but also, extra seating, and a beautiful backdrop for entertaining.
Q.: What “dates” a kitchen and how can renovators avoid it?
S.: Materials. Ultimately materials are the main thing that dates a kitchen. You can avoid that pitfall by not using too much detailing in your cabinetry or your backsplash. Aim for neutral colors and materials in classic patterns. Use a subway pattern in your backsplash, a two-inch miter return in the counter tops, and keep your hardware simple. However, if you plan on staying in one place for 20 years, you can put a lot more of your personality into it. Alternatively, if you think you may have your kitchen for a shorter length of time and resale value is an important factor in your design, you want your kitchen to serve as a neutral backdrop and you can put your personal touches elsewhere…furniture, the canisters you use, or the cookbooks you adorn your shelves with.
Q.: Is the economy helping your business to expand? How long have you been an interior designer?
S.: We’ve always focused on creating beautiful spaces within any budget. The desire for lovely things does not disappear in a rough economy, but the amount one spends to achieve a certain look will vary greatly. I have been an interior designer for seven years, and although this economy is hard on everyone, it has also pushed me be more creative and to come up with new and different ways to make a space feel luxurious without breaking the bank.
Q.: Where are readers going to find you? Is there also a blog?
S.: The best place to find us is at: www.marshandclark.com or on our Facebook page where we show our work. To see us online go to marshandclark.com or check out our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/marshandclark
Q.: Is there anything else you would like to tell Home and Living Readers?
S.: In any part of your home design/redesign one key element can go a long way to help define your ultimate look. Focus on making a prime feature stand out and serve as inspiration for the rest of the design elements, for example, in these two kitchens, the lighting sets the tone—illuminating one unit in a warm traditional glow and casting the other in sleek and sophisticated brilliance.