Raleigh Kitchen Designer Blends Aesthetics And Functionality To Create The Kitchen Of Her Clients’ Dreams

Posted on | July 30, 2015 | No Comments

There are two essential elements to every design – a good aesthetic and thoughtful function. The two must be carefully balanced and tailored to the people who will live in the space. This is an especially tall order for kitchens, where function is critical to a successful design. Fortunately, homeowners in North Carolina have experts like Ruth Ann Taylor Long of Taylored Spaces to call on. As owner of the notable Raleigh kitchen and bath design firm, she helps homeowners consistently realize their dream kitchens. Today, North Carolina Design is showcasing a beautiful recently completed project and hearing how Ruth Ann was able to blend aesthetics and functionality with her client’s specific tastes.

Images Courtesy of Taylored Spaces . Photography by Stuart Jones, Jr. ©

“The home belongs to a commercial architect, who had decided to redo the kitchen as a gift to his wife,” Ruth Ann explains. “These are homeowners who like to be on the cutting edge of things, and they’ve always preferred a sleek, contemporary look. They actually redid the kitchen in the 80’s, and at that time it was an amazing, forward-thinking space. It was even in the papers. But, after so many years, of course it was in need of an overhaul.”

“The homeowners have a good eye and a great feel for what’s new,” says Ruth Ann. “They really love shiny, modern, monochromatic elements, so we went with something sleek and glossy and clean. We gave them Cambria quartz counters and high-gloss Italian laminate cabinets with beautiful striations. The backsplash is a glass and stone mosaic that matches the countertops and creates some visual and physical texture. The light fixtures are really striking – they were inspired by fixtures they had seen in upscale restaurants.”

The homeowners are soon-to-be empty nesters who love the outdoors, and spend most of their time outside. “The wife really enjoys gardening and canning fruits and vegetables, so they were most interested in adding prep space and food storage,” notes Ruth Ann. “They also needed everything to be in good working order. If you can believe it, their oven had actually been broken for two years.”

The couple had gone back and forth about whether to add on to their kitchen, and Ruth Ann found a final winning solution. “When we considered the layout we noted that only about 70 percent of the space was being used,” she recounts. “Most of the kitchen was crammed into one corner, and there was a whole wasted area in front of the doorway to the family room. We thought, why not keep the same footprint and just flip the whole kitchen around?

“By flipping the kitchen, we were able to give the homeowners two or three really good workspaces, as well as the storage they needed. There’s also no wasted space – they’re able to use 100 percent of the kitchen. And, by moving the sink beneath the windows, we were able to give the wife the view to the outdoors she always wanted.”

Ruth Ann also added a number of other details that helped improve the function of the space. “We upgraded all of their appliances – I am happy to say that they now have a fully functioning oven,” she affirms. “We gave them really tall pantry units and a big freezer for food storage. We also gave them these really chic upper cabinets that feature a state-of-the-art liftup mechanism. To keep the space sleek and uncluttered, we added pull-out trash bins, a microwave set in a drawer, and extra base pantry pullouts.”

Project renovation by Stuart Jones Custom Homes

For Ruth Ann, the best part of the project was the creative freedom she was given by the homeowners. “Even though the husband was an architect, he let us do our job and didn’t get overly involved. He left things in our hands, and trusted us to come up with something amazing. And I think we succeeded. He was thrilled with the outcome, which, I think, says a lot.”

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