Peek into the kitchen of one of the region's most-respected design teams: husband-and-wife architects Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson. They used their Chicago-area home as a canvas for experimenting with new materials and tweaking the rules. "Our kitchen offered us a chance to try some novel things," Elissa says.
Mixed materials

Ornate wood pedestals support a vinyl-clad banquette in the eating nook of Elissa Morgante's kitchen. "I definitely recommend diversity of materials," she says. "It makes keeping a kitchen fresh and interesting easier."

Mixed materials

The kitchen reflects many innovative ideas.

Wood that warms Although the kitchen displays a contemporary aesthetic, wooden elements ensure it's cozy. The kitchen is basically embraced in wood via the floor's recycled two-by-fours, the island's butcher-block counter and the walnut that flows from cabinets to the table at the banquette.

Twice as nice For maximum efficiency, Elissa used two full-size sinks: one for meal prep, the other for cleanup. "Whenever possible, we encourage clients to put a large prep sink in their island," she says. "I can rinse a whole chicken in mine or use it to fill a pasta pot with water." Single-bowl styles are most versatile.

A light cover The fridge and many cabinets wear Lumicor, a lightweight plastic that looks like glass. "It provides a visual screen for products behind the doors but still conveys transparency and provides nice texture," Elissa says.

Material things Sleek, stainless-steel hardware accents white-painted cabinets to mirror appliances. Walnut banding outlines cabinets. A mix of open and closed shelving adds visual interest while providing plenty of out-of-sight storage.

Easy flow "My absolute favorite thing is the carefully orchestrated, compactly designed work triangle," Elissa says. The perimeter wall of horizontal cabinets has doors that lift up, not out; so even doors don't get in her way while cooking.

Line 'em up Hand-made glass tiles work with horizontal cabinetry and handles to create linear flow. "It makes the space feel more open and larger because they contrast and balance against the high ceilings," Elissa says.



Architects Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson, Morgante-Wilson Architects, Evanston, Illinois.

Appliances Sub-Zero and Wolf.

Backsplash Waterworks

Barstools Ansel. Room and Board.

Cabinetry and hardware Morgante-Wilson Architects.

Countertops Celador engineered stone; Stone Source. Walnut butcher block; Morgante-Wilson Architects.

Flooring Oregon Lumber Company.

Lighting Helix round pendant; Stonegate Designs. Vega round suspension; Lightology.

Paint 1515 Natural Elements. Benjamin Moore.

Sinks and faucets Chicago Brass.

Table Custom. Morgante-Wilson Architects.