Friday, November 12, 2010

Barnes House Kitchen

Last year we were lucky enough to have our kitchen published.  The photos had been shopped around for a month or so before they were picked up to be featured in Kitchen Trends magazine.  Of course we were thrilled when they called and told us the kitchen would be in an upcoming issue.  I was even more excited when I saw that it got the front cover and the main feature spread.  That came as a huge surprise.  I mean I was really surprised.  I love my kitchen, but I never imagined it would get the attention it did considering I thought of Kitchen Trends as a publication that catered to McMansion McKitchens or either the Ultra Modern.  But the editor told us it had a certain authenticity and that it was very photogenic.  We were like proud parents! 

We had an architect who worked with us on the house plans.  But, we wanted to control most of the design decisions as the construction progressed (which I’m sure that totally shocks those of you who know us)!   So, the architect drew only the shell of the house addition and we managed the details of each phase.  However, when it came to the kitchen we had the good sense to hire a professional.  We knew the look and feel we wanted.  And of course, I had very specific ideas for the finishes, materials and all other details.  However, designing a kitchen and getting it right is not an easy task.  I knew how to make it look good, but I had no idea where to put the knife drawers, how to get top of the line cabinets or what would be a workable layout in a long and narrow space.   Especially since C was completely non-negotiable about including a kitchen island. 

So what did we do?  C went out and found Atlanta kitchen designer Matthew Rao.  Still to this day, I believe the reason he picked Matthew is because his studio is located across the street from our Atlanta condo.  Thinking back, I would not advise selecting your designer based on the convenience of his office.  But in this case we got very lucky.  Being ‘design’ inclined; I know how … uh… challenging it can be to work with creative people, especially if you have very specific ideas yourself.  Matthew was very upfront with us that his specialty leaned heavily towards contemporary and modern concepts.  But, he had won several ‘kitchen of the year’ honors and being slightly shallow, I can be impressed by awards.  We really connected with him and thought he truly understood our intent to seamlessly mix history and modern.  Not to mentioned that he never got frustrated with us as we questioned every detail and made endless changes.  I still have a garage full of rejected cabinet doors that were delivered every few days until we got the exact shade of gray blue green we wanted.  As you can see from the photographs, Matthew helped us achieve the kitchen we wanted.  If you need a great kitchen or bath designer you can find Matthew at  He does work all over country.

Photo credit:  John Umberger


  1. Love this. Great job.

    And glad to know about your blog. Thanks for commenting on mine today! -Brooke

  2. Stunning! I'm in love with all of it ... but those fans over the island are really stealing the show! :) (for me anyway!) I love them! I saw an episode of something on HGTV where a woman had one in a bathroom, and thought, I HAVE TO GET ONE! Now I see you have TWO! Well HMPPFH! Now I gotta get three! :)

  3. Really beautiful!! It seems like the perfect balance of old and new. Love the walls, love the cabinets and their color, love the different counter surfaces, love the industrial elements of the faucets and fans. Love the sculpture and I wish I was able to see the artwork better because I think I love that too.


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