By Jerri Anne Hopkins  |  Photography by Marcus Chacona


Families, in-laws, and office suites are not the only places that harbor dysfunction and pathological triangles. A quiet killer lurks among us. It thrives upon confusion. Upon useless niches and ill-fitting cabinetry. Upon fear that there are deep problems. That you will blow your retirement income solving these problems.

Kitchen2The culprit? The well-meaning but design-less kitchen. If you find yourself the owner of one, be strong. You are no longer alone; help is available. However, you must be ready to give up control and call professionals. This is what one family in Stevensville did; they have been living happily in their bay front brick colonial ever since.

Before coming under a professional’s care, its twenty-five-year-old kitchen had outdated appliances lined up against one wall. Several doors led to dining and living areas throughout the house, creating a high-traffic area. A brick chimney and fireplace dominated one end. The space was cluttered and crowded, in need of air, light, and circulation. There was another great crime: it faced the glorious Chesapeake Bay but had poor access to the lovely views.

When he could take no more, the owners’ son, Chris Frank, an  architect with the firm Hammond Wilson, drew up preliminary plans for a new design, then turned to Mark T. White, CKD, CBD, founder of Kitchen Encounters in Annapolis, for a treatment plan. White and a team of professionals, including interior designer Lisa Publicover, ASID, founder of Lisa Publicover Interior Design, refined Frank’s design concepts. They were able revive this space and, without changing its square footage, double its storage capacity and make it open, beautiful, and functional.

Publicover guided the overall interior design, and Frank handled the renovation. The porch was transformed into a sunroom, with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the Bay. The wall between the new sunroom and kitchen was removed so that the two rooms now flow together harmoniously in the light-filled open space.

White, who focused on the kitchen and bath, explains that doorways in the kitchen were moved slightly, both to gain more room for counter space and to improve the traffic flow. The arched doorway from the kitchen into the foyer area leads to two closets, which were converted into much-needed pantry storage, and allows visitors entering through the front door a view directly through the house to the Bay, making the entire house feel more open and spacious. White transformed the layout into a more user-friendly workspace and created a traffic pattern that keeps the workspace out of the direct flow of people but still accessible to friends and family.

Kitchen3Directly across from the cooktop, there are two islands: the first holds the large farm sink, completing the kitchen’s golden triangle—the relationship between the sink, cooktop, and refrigerator. In the best and most enduring kitchens, this relationship is strong and uncomplicated.

The second island sits just outside where the back wall of the kitchen used to be, thus separating the kitchen from the sunroom without detracting from the open space effect. Both islands have an overhanging countertop where barstools offer seating convenient to both kitchen and sunroom. The two islands divert traffic away from the central working space, while still allowing the cook to be part of the fun.

White credits Publicover with much of the success of the kitchen. “She helped pull it all together with the decorative elements, finishes, and fixtures.”

With her guidance, the refrigerator and dishwasher were clad in wood. The countertops are elegantly polished black granite, while the floor is Brazilian cherry to match the rest of the house. The few touches of color are a soft pale green on the walls and a deep apple red in the rug, stools, tea kettle, and a few vases and other implements, which add a vibrant pop of color to complete the classic look of the kitchen.

BathroomPublicover says, “It really takes both a kitchen designer and an interior designer to make a kitchen truly great. Mark made sure the kitchen is easy to work in and yet easy to move around in without everyone getting in the cook’s way, for both intimate and large parties. And I got to add the elements that brought all the pieces together decoratively. My favorite parts are the tray ceiling, which gives the kitchen the feeling of height, and the lighting fixtures.”

Publicover also assisted White in making over the master bath. The bath was cramped, with a big closet, tub/shower combination, and a two-sink arrangement. But the homeowners wanted a free standing soaking tub and comfortable shower. White borrowed some space from a hall closet and gave them a free standing tub and a glass-fronted shower, both with views of the Bay, as well as plenty of storage with cabinets above and below a new two-sink countertop. Wainscoting, soft colors, and classic tiles encourage tranquility. Now, in this home’s most important and used areas—the kitchen and bath—light reigns over dark. All the rooms are on speaking terms, with no competition. The troublemakers have been banished to the dump. The conditions are ideal for harmony: traffic is controlled and airspace is plentiful.

The Appliance Source:
Gary Smith Builders, Inc.:
Hammond Wilson:
Kitchen Encounters:
Lisa Publicover Interior Design:
Seville Cabinetry:


From Vol. 6, No. 1 2015
Annapolis Home Magazine