For an inspired cook, there is no substitute for a well-designed kitchen.

To homeowner, Philip Breddy, though, the special significance of his new custom kitchen is how completely it fulfills a vision that began when he recognized that the 5,000 square foot Great Falls home he had purchased didn't adequately support his passion for culinary art.

“I had been thinking about improving the kitchen since we bought the house three years before,” Breddy says. “As a lifelong cooking enthusiast, the restricted space was a problem, but then I didn't like the aesthetics either, so we were just gathering ideas, looking for inspiration.”

As it happened, a chance visit to the Michael Nash showroom in Fairfax soon reignited Breddy's still formulating plans.

“There were so many relevant displays in the showroom,” Breddy recalls. “Before we left, I had scheduled an appointment with the president, Sonny Nazemian.”

As Breddy tells it, Nazemian, who is a certified remodeler (CR), certified interior designer (CID) and certified kitchen and bath remodeler (CKBD), established his skills as a space planner shortly after seeing the house for the first time:

“Once we both saw that the professional-caliber stove and hood I wanted would have to be attached to the wall between the kitchen and the utility room, Sonny proposed a plan for moving the rear elevation further out onto the back deck. I would also need more space for a larger refrigerator and a substantial food preparation island.”

To create the needed square footage, Nazemian proposed expanding the existing footprint in two directions. First, he would remove the home's west-facing rear elevation and install an I-beam mounted on vertical shafts to support the second floor. The new elevation now extends the back of the house over 150 square feet.

Secondly, the remodeler deleted the pantry in the wall between the kitchen and dining room, claiming an additional 50 square of usable space inside the perimeter of the existing kitchen.

Revising the rear elevation also allowed the design team to remove ceiling-flush bulkheads, housing plumbing and electrical. The conduits were re-routed up from the basement and joined to both a pot-filler above the new range oven as well as the work sink in the food prep island.

Increased headroom permitted space for taller cabinets-- in fact, a welcome 20 percent boost in storage capacity.

To improve the visual linkage to the backyard, the new rear elevation features a 4-by-15-ft bay window above the sink. French doors with sidelights-- replacing the former picture window-- further increase available light and provide inviting access to a back deck.

Meanwhile, the niche, formed by the pantry removal handily accommodates a 72” refrigerator/ freezer, two new floor-to-ceiling pantries, a beverage center with wine refrigerator and built-in cubbies and a serving station a few steps from the formal dining room.

Overall, the plan unfolds “generously” in every direction, Breddy notes.

“It's a place where we can entertain,” he adds, “and it works beautifully for that purpose. It's also where the kids do homework while meals are being prepared.”

With the food prep island completing one leg in a work triangle that includes a clean-up station and the 6 burner gas range oven, the step-saving configuration facilitates all essential cooking and clean-up tasks.

“I have a griddle on the range and a cutting board that slides left to right on the food prep sink. There’s a drawer microwave in the cooktop island. Just standing here inspires cooking ideas,” he says.

Better yet, while all the cookware, food products and spices needed to explore sundry culinary styles are just a few feet of the cook's work station, there's an abundance of surfaces for allowing a dish to quietly marinate, gel or congeal.

“There's a place for my cast iron wok; all the heavier serving dishes have their own drawers; even scrub brushes are independently stored, and out of view.”

Apart from its sublime functionality, Breddy says the new kitchen's “transitional” interior design style conveys a particularly pleasing ambiance.

“My wife and I spent hours looking at finishwork ideas,” he notes. “When needed, the Michael Nash team, ever at hand, [is] helping us shape our thoughts. We got a lot of direction regarding the appropriate shape and size of selected finishwork choices. With a gourmet kitchen, it's the details that matter most.”

For instance, Breddy credits Nazemian with providing the “honed” granite he had not been able to find anywhere.

“It's a matched finish,” Breddy observes. “We were looking for hints of classic style. It takes a real commitment to meet these design standards, so we are quite pleased with the outcome.”

The Breddy project was subsequently honored with a Chrysalis Award for “Best Residential Kitchen” in an 11 state region ranging from the District of Columbia to Florida.

“Since our goal is always to outperform the perceived limits of a budget, the Chrysalis really validates the way we have set our priorities as a company,” Nazemian observes. “It's gratifying for the whole team.”

For more information, call 703-641-9800 or visit

John Byrd has been writing about home improvement for 30 years. He can be reached @ 703-715-8006, or Send photos of interesting remodeling projects to:

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