This project by Cabinetry & Construction, Inc., won the national silver in Professional Remodeler magazine's Best of the Best Awards. This kitchen of a well-built mid-20th-century cape cod-style house in Richmond's West End had never been significantly updated, and still contained the original site-built painted pine cabinets. Besides an upgrade of cabinetry, surfaces, and appliances, the homeowners wanted a room that would be more of a cook's kitchen and incorporate a Tuscan feel along with a visual connection to the natural look of their wooded, hilly backyard. It was a challenge to run the gas line for the new dual-fuel range; the beautifully finished basement was directly below. We built a chase to accommodate the gas line alongside a decorative beam and through the back corner of a shower. Our design included a crank-out casement window that was larger than the window it replaced, requiring the removal of some brick in the exterior wall. We carefully matched the replaced brick, mortar and all, so as to be virtually unnoticeable. The upgrade has raised the kitchen to the quality of those of other houses in this lovely, well-established neighborhood. The simplicity and natural color of the maple Shaker cabinets complements the grass cloth in the living room and stairwell, and flows with the woodsy feel of the landscape seen from the large window over the sink. The array of glass-fronted cabinets adjacent to the window wall also adds to the "bringing-the-outside-in" feeling, as do the multi-colored slate tiles of the backsplash. The cabinets' oil-rubbed bronze-finished pulls complement the alabaster and bronze finishes of the ceiling lights. The homeowners fell in love with Forbo's marmoleum, true linoleum, a "green" product, easy on the feet and back, as well as low maintenance. Heavy chair rail and tall baseboards found in the adjacent dining room were replicated in the kitchen for a finer level of finish. The homeowners have two young sons, and the kitchen is "command central" for keeping track of all their activities as well as for meal planning and bill paying, so a sizeable desk area was included in the design. The previous cabinetry did not have enough food storage space, a need more than met by the new pantry cabinets. The wife wanted a dedicated area for baking, which is alongside the pantry cabinets; large drawers below hold bowls and pots with ease. The husband had always wanted a gas cook top, and the stand-alone dual-fuel range was an economical solution. Another cost-cutting move was painting the not-so-old refrigerator with blackboard paint to coordinate with the Absolute Black granite counters. The result is a pleasing blend of efficient work space, natural surfaces, and subtle colors. The desired ambiance of Italian informality has been achieved to create an inviting kitchen which will remain a pleasure to the family and their guests for years to come. We've included a "before" picture to show off the classic avocado range.