Theo Adamstein and Olvia Demetriou, FAIA, are the go-to architects for designing chic new restaurants in Washington, D.C., and environs. Their success lies in organizing efficient kitchens while creating stylish, yet inviting, spaces for socializing and eating. The architectural couple recently domesticated their successful commercial formula and brought it home. “A kitchen's driven by function,” Demetriou says, “but in today's home, you have to achieve those needs in ways that make the kitchen feel more like a public space than a workspace.
“What we learned in doing restaurant kitchens,” she continues, “is that different zones are more distinctly defined, and that washing dishes has nothing to do with food prep.” Thus, the dishwasher and big sink in their own kitchen are concealed beneath a dining room pass-through opposite the cooking zone. An adjacent column of cabinets keeps dishes and glassware centralized between eating and cleaning spots. Demetriou admits that the zone system does result in a few redundancies. The family of four has three refrigerators, for example. A small one near the toaster oven and coffee maker chills butter, milk, and juice in the breakfast zone. The main fridge stands within reach of the cooktop and a small produce sink; number three keeps soda and mixers cold at the beverage station.
A palette of light hues and natural materials soften the room's hardworking layout. “The lighting and finishes are as sensuous as the living spaces,” Demetriou explains, “but at any time you can reach over and get what you need.” One sumptuous material is the cream-colored concrete that tops counters and a spacious island. Not just for mincing garlic, the well-located island also hosts hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, kids doing homework, and the occasional science experiment. It also keeps guests out of the kitchen—sort of. “We can have 150 people over for a party and half of them hang out around the island,” the architect (and hostess) says with a laugh.
architect: Adamstein & Demetriou Architects, Washington, D.C.
general contractor: Artwork Construction, Washington, D.C.
structural engineer: BEI Structural Engineers, Fairfax, Va.
concrete fabricator: Concrete Jungle, Inc., Frederick, Md.
resources: bath fittings and fixtures: Hansgrohe and Whirlpool; cooktop: Viking; kitchen cabinets: Art Craft Cabinets; oven: Miele; refrigerator: Sub-Zero; tile: Hastings Tile & Bath and Walker Zanger; vanity: Phoenix Wood Products Corp.