“The clients thought very, very carefully about what they wanted in this kitchen,” recalls designer Mary Young about a contemporary Hockessin home project. The “before” version, she recalls, was outdated, enclosed with an anachronistic and ill-fitting peninsula. Now it’s a kitchen that immediately feels right, even though it’s stylistically diverse. If the client specified some moments of drama and others of serenity, the end result nevertheless feels easy and uncomplicated.
“I would call this space refined transitional with a country influence,” Young explains, “and it is in keeping with their contemporary-styled home. As the owner and sole designer of 309design, I take it as a sacred trust to listen very carefully to my clients’ aesthetic preferences and work with them to create a beautiful, nurturing space that speaks to them of ‘home.’”
In its previous life, the kitchen, Young says, “was awkward and nonfunctional”; today, it’s roomy with great flow and efficiency—a vision in cream, wood and a few notably rich shades of gray. The visual stimulation and depth are provided by the craftsmanship of the island and the extensive cabinetry (all fabricated by Holcomb Cabinetry in Claymont). “A quiet, refined palette was their preference, with a dramatic contrast in the countertop and island,” Young notes—that’s where those grays come in: charcoal for the island’s base and an off-black quartz countertop from Cambria. Meant for entertaining, the island half-hides a pair of stools.
“Storage and display space was also a priority, as can be seen by the storage ‘wall’ to the right of the island, featuring the mullioned glass doors for the display of family treasures,” Young says. Additional glass–fronted cabinets along the top of the sink wall continue this trend. All the glass-fronted cabinets are strikingly illuminated by interior lighting.
With the homeowners drawn to both a modern, monochromatic palette—no contrasting color for the oven hood—and touches of the traditional, Young nevertheless created a kitchen that looks more seamless and less eclectic than it sounds. She was even able to integrate some farmhouse features. The island contains cubbies for cookbooks that, to Young, feel nostalgic and textural; the polished nickel pendants (from Generation Lighting) are in a homey lantern style; and the Kohler apron sink ushers in a country house quality. The flooring, from Pinnacle Floors, is red oak with a dark DuraSeal stain, nodding to the rustic undertone.
Young has a master’s degree in interior design from Drexel; she founded her firm in 2016 and though she works alone, that may change given how busy she is. With people spending more time at home due to the pandemic, clients are snapping up interior designers and demanding more functionality, tending to focus in on their kitchens. In this case, the appliances are top of the line: a stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator with French doors; a gas range, oven and warming drawer by Wolf; and a Bosch dishwasher. Due to Young’s facility with space management, one can imagine the homeowners putting everything to good use without getting in each other’s way.