• Planks from the same elm tree top off the island and the matching dining table. The long outside edge was left raw for visual and tactile interest.

    Credit: Benjamin Benschneider

    Planks from the same elm tree top off the island and the matching dining table. The long outside edge was left raw for visual and tactile interest.
The owner of this Seattle kitchen remodel wanted more space with better light, but didn't want to feel like she was eating in a kitchen. Architect Nils Finne eliminated the dining and breakfast nook walls to create one contiguous 640-square-foot space filled with stunningly crafted details and rich textural contrasts.

The kitchen's custom island is an example of Finne's “crafted Modernism” approach. Made of elm planks supported by steel legs, the island provides no place to hide plumbing, wiring, and the disposal. To make those exposed guts look good, the architect speced blackened copper piping and a stainless steel disposal shroud. Electrical outlets hide underneath the countertop because there are no verical surfaces. “The mechanics of an island are usually all hidden,” Finne says, “and in this case nothing was.”

Finne's preference for “textures and materials in opposition to each other” is expressed in panels of bamboo stalks set in smooth cedar cabinet door frames, seagrass embedded in a translucent resin panel that brightens a length of counter, and a backsplash of variegated stone tiles. Despite the varied patterns, an overall air of calm pervades the space.

  • Credit: Benjamin Benschneider

Builder: Shultz-Miller Construction, Seattle; Architect: Nils Finne Architects, Seattle; Metal fabricator: Illume, Seattle; Photographer: Benjamin Benschneider