Rivergrove Kitchen and Dining Room

Planning + Construction

Removing two walls totally changes the floor plan and allows us to design a new house inside an old house.

Within the new floor plan, we had to include a foyer, dining room, kitchen, and home office. Reconfiguring different floor levels allowed us to create appropriately proportioned “rooms” within a very open concept layout.

In a daytime space like a kitchen, natural light is especially important. Instead of filling the main kitchen wall with cabinetry, we designed for the addition of two small windows to the south wall to bring in direct sunlight year-round. Because of their southern orientation, the windows don’t have to be large to make a dramatic difference in the amount of natural light within the space. A slightly larger south-facing window was also added to the right of the fridge, which allows sunlight to pour into the office area and living room.

Our material palette began with natural walnut hardwoods, and we chose two accenting stain colors in maple for a portion of the millwork. To prevent a visual wood-overload, we selected pure white for the base cabinets and 3/4″ quartz countertops. In a large open kitchen, we often integrate up to three colors of millwork to provide visual interest and prevent the locker-room aesthetic.


Two walls were removed to allow for a complete re-design of the main floor.

The new kitchen doubles in size by taking over the dining room, and the new dining room moved into the under-used formal living room.

The homeowners love cooking and casual entertaining, and the old layout simply wasn’t ideal for how they wanted to use and share the main floor of their home.

ART FROM THE START: We designed the back wall of the dining room to showcase the homeowner’s art piece. The art would have gotten lost on a large flat wall, so we framed a 4″ wall/ceiling extension that was appropriately sized for the piece. Contrasting textures and sheens add drama to the dining room. After dark, modern full length curtains are drawn and sconces are dimmed to reflect light off the wallpaper and create a more intimate experience. A Noguchi pendant light casts a filtered ambient glow.

CUSTOM DESIGN + FABRICATION: Custom-fabricated cabinet pulls allowed us to design the size, style, and ergonomics that we couldn’t find in the off-the-shelf options. A locally-made stainless steel bar sink gave us the perfect proportions and functionality for daily use.

UNIQUE + BOLD: We sourced an 18 foot length of Cedar of Lebanon at a local supplier. They had purchased the huge boards from Verona, Italy where there had been a severe windstorm in Romeo and Juliet park. We worked with a talented furniture maker to create an eight-foot-long bar with mitred corners and a marine-grade polyurethane finish which allowed the wood grain to pop.

OFFICE CONVERSION: At some point, the homeowner plans to trade in the desktop computer for a laptop, which can be stowed away in the hidden lift-up countertop compartment. We designed this desk out of kitchen cabinetry with a laminate top that lifts up to quickly stash a laptop and whatever paperwork may be in process. Now, the homeowner (who often works from home) can easily convert the area from a functional desk to a clutter-free surface at the end of the work day.

FUNCTIONAL FEATURES: The original dining room, now the kitchen, had a bump out that had to be insulated and closed off. We took advantage of this extra-deep wall cavity and created a unique 12″ deep niche above the cooktop to act as additional counter space. We turned the niche into a functional feature with glass mosaic tile and accent lighting, lined with a quartz shadow-box detail protruding just past the face of the backsplash tile.