Old world charm: Dream home built with comfort in mind

by RaeLynn Callaway

I love creating kitchens that are spacious enough for a crowd yet cozy enough for just a few good friends. That philosophy didn’t change when I met with Keith and Robin Woodruff who were designing their dream home in Natural Steps (Pulaski County).

The Woodruffs wanted their new home to represent hospitality, comfort and friendliness. They wanted guests to enter and be enveloped by the warm, comfortable home that seemed a part of this rural countryside setting for years.   

“It was very important to us to have the kitchen and family room open,” Robin said. “We wanted one big room for more intimate family times.” The Old World European charm and style that they were looking for would lend itself perfectly to the Woodruffs desires for their new family room and kitchen.

Neutral colors throughout both rooms, tall ceilings and spaciousness create a clean look that is common to the country European style. The contrast between the soft wall color and the dark stained beams and cabinetry take their cues from the natural setting that can be seen from the family room’s large picture windows. The slip-covered couches are relaxed yet sophisticated, a reflection of the cozy, carefree family lifestyle. The beautiful rock fireplace boasts of the European countryside with its wine bottle design. The built in cabinetry surrounding the fireplace is perfect for hiding the big, flat screen TV.

Using wood beams, dark stained cabinetry, copper wiring in some of the cabinet doors and Subiaco stone give the family room its country manor appeal.

In the kitchen, mixing painted and stained cabinetry add charm to the kitchen cabinets. The large island with its granite top define and anchor the kitchen while the twin wrought-iron lanterns draw a visitor’s eyes up to the custom hood and brick-patterned travertine wall. Mixing the styles of the wrought-iron hardware, but keeping the same finish, was another way to add character and charm.  

Besides being aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the kitchen also has to be functional. When working with an open plan like the Woodruff home, limiting the number of upper cabinets is a must to keep sight lines open and maintain the spacious feel and unity of the two rooms.

Every kitchen should be designed with distinct zones in mind. In the Woodruff kitchen, these zones were designed to satisfy the needs of baking, meal preparation, entertaining and clean-up. The Woodruff kitchen includes a baking center with plenty of counter space in close proximity to the ovens. Meal preparation is centrally located around the gas cooktop with drawers and cabinets specifically designed for Robin’s needs. The sink and dishwasher, located in the large island, are also central to both the baking and meal-prep zones. Because there are no upper cabinets in this area, we used drawers to accommodate her glasses and dishes. “I was not excited about the idea of having all my dishes in drawers. I’ll have to say I couldn’t be happier. I absolutely love the drawers!”

Since the kitchen is the heart of the home and always seems to be the main gathering place, an abundance of island seating was designed. This keeps the guests feeling a part of the action while keeping them separate from the work zones. A wet bar between the kitchen and family room also helps maintain this separation.

In the Woodruff home, using an understated design made a big impact. Incorporating rich materials with subtle yet beautiful details, we were able to embrace the comfort, warmth and naturally inviting charm the old world country style.generates.