When Julie and Michael Carr decided to renovate the kitchen of their McLean home, their vision was clear. Forget shiny and new. They wanted something that felt a bit more “lived-in.” Something tracing back to Julie’s roots.
“Julie grew up in Lancaster County, so she developed a real love for Amish craftsmanship,” explains Allison Shortmeyer, the interior designer on the project. “To pay tribute to her past, we worked with an Amish cabinetmaker to create the kitchen island and wet bar, and they’re the real stars of this space.”
While the overall renovation does feature classic white cabinetry and oil-rubbed bronze hardware, the use of the reclaimed Pennsylvania barnwood helps bring vintage charm to the project.
The warmer-toned white cabinets fall right on par with current trends in the industry, says Shortmeyer, who says that warm whites, taupe, and mushroom-colored cabinets are very in right now.
“People want to feel cozy in their spaces,” she adds. “Bright white kitchens will always be classic, but the current trend is really all about warmth right now.”
Bring on the light
With natural gray tones to it, the barnwood features help lighten up the space. In addition to the island and wet bar, the beautiful wood was also placed on the hood above the oven.
“It’s very sleek,” says Shortmeyer. “Somehow, they were able to give this rustic barnwood a very refined feel.”
The light-stone backsplash, quartz countertops, and refinished flooring also helped brighten up the once dark and closed-in space.
“The previous glassed-in atrium was converted into a proper sunroom, complete with skylights, windows, and plenty of natural light to bring further light to the space,” adds Shortmeyer.
Opening up the space
Having a more open concept for the kitchen and family area was a major goal for this project. For a family with four kids, the overarching idea was really just to have a central place where they could all be together.
“Julie wanted to stand at her kitchen sink and be able to look out to see her kids and friends gathered around an island,” says Shortmeyer.
And this renovation brought her dream to life.
The project included knocking out a wall and expanding the square footage in order to incorporate a 13-foot island into the space.
“With this renovation, the home still has some quiet places to retreat to, but it definitely helps with Julie’s vision to have a space for everyone to gather,” says Shortmeyer.
More nods to the past
Another interesting touch — and yet another nod to the past — are the three schoolhouse pendant lights hung overhead.
“I sent over some lighting options, and when we chose this pendant lighting, [Julie’s] mom mentioned that it was the exact light she had in her schoolhouse growing up,” explains Shortmeyer. “It’s neat when something special happens through happy accidents like that.”
Hand-painted Windsor-style counter stools and a sliding barn door completed this rustic-meets-refined renovation.
“The entire kitchen turned out really beautifully,” says Shortmeyer. “The clean lines and traditional elements pair perfectly with the warmth of the barnwood. The result is a modern luxury kitchen that feels comfortable and lived-in — and it’s better than we could’ve ever imagined.”
This story originally ran in our September issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.