Kitchen Tour: Material Matters | Midwest Living

Kitchen Tour: Material Matters

A mash-up of modern and rustic elements creates calm—not chaos—in a busy Chicago-area kitchen. The trick? Just the right blend.
  • Raise the rusticity

    Rolling out pasta dough on a marble slab in an Italian cooking class convinced Susan Rossie that she’d like the same smooth surface in her kitchen—along with rough textures and rich finishes. “I had this vision of a modernized Tuscan kitchen,” says the president of the Susan Fredman Design Group. When she and her husband, Joseph, downsized to a ranch-style home, Susan enlisted her colleagues to design a space for multiple cooks.

    Salvaged wood infuses the kitchen with warmth, but designer Terri Crittenden didn’t want to go overboard. Instead of installing beams across the entire ceiling, she raised a 5x10-foot area above the island as a focal point.

    Rossie’s kitchen finds balance through contrast: 

    Textured & Smooth | The rough edges of stone and beams balance sleek marble.

    Matte & Shiny | Swirled glass pendants sparkle against quieter paint and wood tones.

    Dark & Light | White marble keeps the richly stained island from receding.

  • Hide and keep

    Mixed materials flavor the kitchen. Reclaimed barn beams juxtapose with marble and mortared stone above the range. “You don’t want the materials to compete,” says designer Terri Crittenden, who chose a marble with minimal veining to offset the rugged stone. Open shelves tucked into the stone wall provide clever use of space.

  • Modern flair

    Modern flair comes from clean-lined faucets, hardware and fixtures. Perhaps most importantly, two prep sinks and an 8-foot island allow room for family, including six granddaughters, to bake together. Suede limestone continues from counter to ceiling for a visually calming effect.

    Tip for clean up | Concerned about keeping floors and surfaces looking spotless? Choose a midtone hue. If you go dark or light, dirt is easier to see.

  • Floors to adore

    Designer Terri Crittenden dishes on hardwood.

    In this kitchen | Terri chose rift-sawn white oak, which looks sleeker due to less graining than common plain-sawn oak. She then applied a dark stain for a sophisticated update. “Rift-cut oak is more expensive, but it’s so worth it,” Terri says.

    For a luxe look | Perfect for a traditional or modern space, versatile walnut “has a beautiful, rich, inherent color and gorgeous graining,” Terri says.

    For rustic revival | Go with hickory if you want a hand-scraped, distressed look with lots of color variation. It suits an old-world aesthetic.

  • Coffee break

    Custom pullout drawers disguised behind cabinet doors hold coffee break essentials—ready for the next caffeine fix.   

  • Make it happen

    Love the balance of this kitchen? Make it happen in your home with our must-have picks.

  • Resource guide

    Designer Terri Crittenden, Fredman Design Group.

    Backsplash Marble Emporium. Cabinetry Brookhaven. Wood-Mode. Cabinetry hardware Rocky Mountain Hardware. Coffee machine BICM24CS. Built-in fully automatic stainless-steel coffee machine. Thermador. Cooktop Thermador. Faucet KWC. Globe pendants SPPOC16 Suspension by Vistosi, color: black. Lightology. Marble countertop Marble Emporium. Oven Thermador Sink Kohler Stone countertop Grigio Suede imestone. Marble Emporium. Stools 36071 Tolix Marais counter stool with high back, color: Gunmental Grey. Design Within Reach. 

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