Kitchen Karma: Going Bold

Darlene Molnar infuses a once-stodgy kitchen with a bold, youthful edge

A dull, traditional kitchen in a Craftsman-style house in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood was a poor match for its owners, a young couple with vibrant, modern tastes. They contacted Darlene Molnar to give their abode a facelift, starting with the kitchen.

“They wanted to open it up, make it lighter and brighter with a happier vibe,” Molnar says. “The idea was to modernize, infuse some youthfulness into it.” They also wanted better flow and functionality to make entertaining easier.

Molnar retained the existing footprint, but removed an overhanging row of cabinets above the peninsula that separated the kitchen from the breakfast nook, creating an airy, open feel. In lieu of pendants, flush-mount fixtures hang above the peninsula so as not to break up the space visually.

The owners had specified classic white cabinetry and marble countertops. “It’s a common combination so I wanted to find something that would set it apart,” Molnar explains. While looking for backsplash tile, she came across a black-and-white marble mosaic in a graphic geometric pattern—bold, with a decidedly modern edge. “I chose it to make a statement,” she says. “The owner loved it, so we extended it to the ceiling.”

The breakfast nook now contains a white-painted, built-in banquette strewn with black-and-white cushions. Brass accents on hardware, lighting and the Restoration Hardware counter stools add warmth.

Kitchen + Interior Design: Darlene Molnar, NCIDQ, ASID, LEED AP ID+C, Darlene Molnar Interior Design, Reston, Virginia. Contractor: Cherry Hill Cabinetry, McLean, Virginia. Photography: Stacy Zarin Goldberg.

Cabinetry: Custom-framed through Countertops: Honed Shadow Storm marble through Appliances: through Backsplash: Krista Watterworth through Lighting: Kelly Wearstler through Hardware: Stools:

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