7 Fabulous Kitchens

From exquisitely traditional to completely modern, these favorite spaces serve up style!


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We’re all astir over this inviting Birmingham family-style kitchen

​BACKSTORY: Brass, leather, and espresso-colored wood mingle with creamy cabinetry (awash in Sherwin-Williams’ color of the year — Alabaster!) in this kitchen and nearby mudroom. Add light quartz countertops and you get a look that’s reminiscent of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee with a splash of fresh cream. The barista of this family gathering spot? Jane Synnestvedt, of Birmingham-based Jane Synnestvedt Interior Design. With school-age twin girls and an energetic Labrador, the homeowners say their kitchen is now a very popular place. “I travel a lot,” says homeowner Liz Siver (a sales director for Microsoft), “so my husband (Jeff) does a lot of the cooking. It’s our dream kitchen.”
CUSTOM CABINETRY: The cabinets were built by Derek Weiss of Home Dimensions Custom Cabinetry in Holly, and are coated with Sherwin-Williams’ Alabaster and Farrow & Ball’s Charleston Gray. “It’s the perfect custom cabinet color for this space,” Synnestvedt says.
DREAM ISLAND: Designed by Synnestvedt, the island features an espresso stain with Cristallo quartz (the same as the countertops throughout, from PMP in Troy). “We use it for everything,” Siver says. “In our former home, we had to sit in a row; in this (kitchen), we can sit down as a family of four and have dinner around (the island), which makes for great conversation.”  
STORAGE GALORE: The island has a beverage refrigerator, which is “super helpful,” the homeowner says. “And it has drawers that pull out; we keep baskets of snacks in those, so they’re accessible for the kids.”   
WALLPAPER: Thibaut’s Coastal Sisal in silver, from the Texture Resource 4 Collection.  
BRASS WITH CLASS: “Brass is back, but I’ve always loved it,” says designer Synnestvedt. The pendants, from Visual Comfort’s E.F. Chapman, have a burnished brass accent, while the faucet, by Newport Brass from Russell Hardware, Bloomfield Hills, also is in brass. “That faucet is quite different than what you typically see,” the designer says. To complete the look, the hardware features a Colonial bronze finish in satin brass, also from Russell Hardware. “The hardware is hand-gnarled, close to the same finish as the faucet.” 
SENSATIONAL SINK: Note the Rohl Allia fireclay sink, “which has a more contemporary farmhouse-style design,” the designer says.  
TILE STYLE: Synnestvedt opted for a gloss tile in the warm Café Cappuccino line, from Virginia Tile, Michigan Design Center, Troy.
HOMEOWNER'S VERDICT: “Everyone who sees it falls in love with it,” Siver says. “Jane did an excellent job.” janesynnestvedt.com
— Megan Swoyer

IN HER OWN KITCHEN IN HER BIRMINGHAM HOME, THE INTERIOR DESIGNER LOVES HER: small, steam convection oven by Viking. “It’s so versatile,” Jane Synnestvedt, left, says. “It’s healthier cooking with the steam for vegetables. There’s also a great convection oven and microwave all in one.”





A couple and their designer removed walls and added modern colors and decorative elements to fashion this exquisite kitchen

​BACKSTORY: When a couple of 40-something homeowners decided to build a new-construction, one-level home in Plymouth (crafted by Robertson Homes), the timing was perfect for creating a kitchen that suited them perfectly. They called on Barbi Krass of Colorworks Studio (based in the Michigan Design Center, Troy) to design not only the kitchen, but their entire home. “They wanted clean and classic,” Krass recalls. “They even made modifications on the new construction and opted to take out every wall they could.” Two islands (one with counter seating and one adjacent to the staircase, for housing beverage centers), as well as custom cabinets and Italian glass fixtures over the island and dining table, make the space nifty and neat.
WALK THIS WAY: The flooring is solid walnut with a clear stain, so the natural wood is prominent.
SPLASHY BACKSPLASH: A mix of grays, taupes, creams, and whites make up the limestone and glass backsplash. The tile is from Virginia Tile, Michigan Design Center.
CLASSY CABINETRY: An espresso stain makes the rift-grain oak cabinetry beautiful. Krass chose linear, ribbed glass for the upper cabinets. “Our client wanted a decorative glass with clean and classic lines — something that didn’t show the contents of the cabinet clearly.”
PENDANT PANACHE: Over the island, an LED clear-glass, cylinder-shaped light with frosted glass from LBL Lighting reigns supreme.
COUNTER STOOLS: The homeowner found these at Design Within Reach.
SINK TIMES TWO: The kitchen has two sinks; the main sink is a stainless steel farmhouse-style, while the other is a stainless steel prep sink in the island.
WINDOW TREATMENT: Krass selected a Lurex linen material for the window fabric.
DINING IN STYLE: Oval-backed chairs from Andreu World, in a dark walnut finish with a gray woven fabric from HBF that’s accented with a touch of Lurex, complement a table that features dark espresso wood with a wire-brushed finish and a stainless base.
BLAST-OFF LIGHTNING: A Sputnik-style chandelier (Cyan) hangs over the dining table. It features slumped glass and stainless steel.
TOP TOPS: The countertops boast a white quartz material, while the island has chocolate quartz to ground the white cabinetry. The island’s quartz covers the top and both ends, all the way to the floor.
EASY-MAKE OVEN: A drawer-style Wolf microwave makes it easy to handle fast-cooking and warming needs; it loads from the top.
UPPER-CABINET COUTURE: “We split them and ran them horizontally, and the tops lift up,” Krass says.  colorworksstudio.com

IN HER OWN KITCHEN IN HER WEST BLOOMFIELD HOME, THE INTERIOR DESIGNER LOVES HER: fireplace. “When building my house, I raised the opening  height to 24 inches off the floor, so it’s the perfect height to enjoy the fire while sitting at the table,” says designer Barbi Krass.





It was time for an update for this Bloomfield Hills kitchen. The results? Gorgeous!

​BACKSTORY: After living in their Bloomfield Hills home for 18 years, the owners of this house decided they wanted to do a total renovation, and they hired Jennifer Asmar of Troy-based Asmar Interiors to guide them. The improvements include this sleek and chic kitchen, with its open, clean look.
GRAY MATTERS: The entire home has a gray-and-white color scheme. In the kitchen, a free-standing banquette from Hickory Chair is upholstered with durable Pindler outdoor fabrics (solid gray Kona for the seat; a gray-and-white print called Majorca for the back). Two counter stools from Kravet, upholstered in gray vinyl and trimmed with polished nickel nailheads, cozy up to the island. The lady of the house requested that all the countertops and backsplashes be made out of white- and gray-streaked Calacatta  marble. “She really wanted to use it, even though it requires more maintenance than some other materials,” Asmar says.
LET THERE BE LIGHT: A fabulous elongated polished nickel lantern from Visual Comfort hangs over the breakfast table, while two great-looking chrome and crystal teardrop fixtures by Crystorama hang over the center island.
IN THE HOOD: Designed by Asmar and crafted by Modern-Aire, the body of the stunning range hood is made out of brushed stainless steel, while its top and bottom bands are made out of polished stainless steel.
RAISING THE BAR: A stained walnut bar cabinet with pocket doors, designed by Asmar to look like a piece of furniture and crafted by John Morgan of Perspectives Cabinetry in Royal Oak, adds a nice touch of warmth to the room. When it’s party time, it can be easily reached from the front hall or living room. (Morgan also provided all of the other cabinetry.)
DESIGNER'S VERDICT: “The range hood, the Calacatta marble, and the lighting are the frosting on the cake in an already beautiful kitchen,” Asmar says. asmarinteriors.com
— Judith Harris Solomon

IN HER OWN KITCHEN IN HER ROCHESTER HILLS HOME, THE INTERIOR DESIGNER LOVES HER: Chemex coffee maker. “I start my day with it every morning,” says designer Jennifer Asmar, left. “It makes the best-tasting coffee.”





A Royal Oak loft kitchen sizzles with style

BACKSTORY: Dr. Ellen Blau fell in love with loft life when living in Ann Arbor. So when she moved back to Royal Oak, she set her sights on finding a loft. “Royal Oak was pretty much the only city in the area that offered lofts,” says Blau, a Royal Oak-based psychotherapist. After finding just the right second-floor, 1,400-square-foot home, she called on the creative folks at KSI Kitchen & Bath in Birmingham (one of five locations in metro Detroit) to help her update the space. KSI’s Nicole Pilon says Blau was fun to work with because she was drawn to eclectic choices. “She wanted to do something unique with modern pieces and possibilities, giving me an opportunity to create a design I’ve never done before,” says Pilon, who worked with Blau on the kitchen.
COLOR STORY: Blau wanted pops of color and complementary textures. “I painted a back wall in a Sherwin-Williams orange— I love bright colors,” says the homeowner. The women opted for Dura custom laminate cabinetry in Fresh Papaya and Dura Supreme’s Urbana door style and Cinder textured foil. “The Papaya worked out well because the concrete floor has an orange and terracotta undertone that goes well with it,” Pilon explains.  To complement the orange, Blau and Pilon chose a  removable wallcovering by Casart Decor of bright birds and trees.
COUNTER COUTURE: The island’s Cambria quartz top is in Devon, which is the new black, according to industry experts. “It gives a concrete look, which is more contemporary,” Pilon says.
STORAGE SMARTS: “There’s not much storage space in the loft, so it was important to create a lot in the kitchen,” Pilon says. For starters, the island has an open area on the end that can hold some items, and there are drawers and cupboards along its sides. Lift cabinets also come in handy for storage.
TIME TO EAT: Blau entertains a lot, so she wanted space at the island for prepping and dining. The island can easily seat seven. “The overhang allows for comfortable seating,” Pilon says. Blau found the stools at Crate & Barrel.
SPLASHY DETAILS: The sink is by Blanco, in Truffle (close to the countertop color), while the faucet is by Grohe (Blue Pure, which features purified water).
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Bringing up the items to the second floor on the elevator or by stairs,” Pilon recalls.
FLOATING ISLAND: “A hidden platform underneath and metal feet make the island seem like a floating piece of furniture,” Pilon says.
LIGHTEN UP: Blau worked with Great Lakes Lighting in Auburn Hills to find the perfect fixtures for above the island. ksikitchens.com
— Megan Swoyer

IN HER OWN KITCHEN IN HER HARRISON TOWNSHIP HOME, THE INTERIOR DESIGNER LOVES HER: mini fridge. “I added the fridge to house all the additional drinks we need to store,” says Nicole Pilon. left. “I have four children and a 36-inch standard fridge,  so I never had the space for pop, juice, or water bottles — but now I do.  I love my drinks cold, so it’s perfect!” 


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