Counter Fit

6 Stylish Kitchens and Bathrooms
All photographs by Jeffery Johnston

1 – A Stylish Sanctuary

When your kitchen is as popular a gathering place as your living room, it’s important to keep the space both inviting and functional.

That was the goal behind the design of Jackie and Gary Palumbo’s kitchen when they built their Lake Vista home from the ground-up.

Vincent Palumbo, co-owner of Terminix, has a background in building homes and was able to design their kitchen overlooking the lush greenery of their backyard bird sanctuary.

Jackie is the co-owner of EarthSavers, a spa; and Well, a health and lifestyle boutique inside the spa.

The most important goal to accomplish for the kitchen was to accommodate the dozen or so family members who visit every weekend.

“We wanted to have a place to gather with that many people and still be comfortable,” Jackie says. “I wanted to be able have Thanksgiving dinner with 20 people over and be able to cook for that.”

The Palumbos chose contractors Gary Uhl with Caribbean Builders of Metairie for the design. A 14-foot marble-top island anchors the room; it seats guests while also providing plenty of space for meal preparation.

The Wolf eight-burner stove and double oven handles large meals, and the Sub-Zero glass-front fridge keeps everything inside looking tidy. Pocket doors allow the kitchen to have more privacy. The imperial antique pine floors are another standout feature. When decorating the kitchen, the Palumbos drew from the natural beauty of the backyard.

The light green marble on the island and the understated cream cabinets strike a perfect balance with the sanctuary on the other side of the glass. What they’ve achieved is the perfect balance of beauty and function.

2 – Complements in the Kitchen

The original terrazzo floor in the kitchen of an Agate Street home in Lakeview was the only salvageable original feature left intact following Hurricane Katrina. Former owners Mark and Doreen Babo chose to refurbish the original floor using Bustamante Care Restoration and coordinate the whole kitchen with the same gray, beige and white color scheme when they renovated the home in 2010.
Originally designed in 1960 by Architects Albert J. Saputo & Chase J. Rowe, the home “had terrific bones with the vaulted ceilings and expansive windows,” Doreen says, and the couple chose to keep as many of the unique features of the time period in their thoughtful renovation design.

The couple relocated to California and sold the home to Jack Adams, the current owner. But they recall the vision for the new kitchen. The marble-and-glass stacked tile walls were inspired by the stacked brick design that accents the home’s exterior, Doreen says.

A particularly unique feature of the kitchen is the large corner glass window that peeks out onto a well-landscaped yard.

The total kitchen renovation included removing the walls to the adjacent breakfast room and family room for a more open floor plan. Everything else was replaced with brand-new, or repurposed, items.
The Babos chose Eco by Cosentino countertops, which are made from 75-percent recycled materials. They are in a “Polar Cap” color, which includes metallic silver accents.

The customized wooden bar on the kitchen island was constructed by Louis Broussard. It’s mounted on a stainless steel base, which Doreen says makes it feel lighter. They work with the laminate glass-front cabinets that accent the stacked tile walls. Appliances and pulls are all from IKEA.

Monique Bennett and Leslie Lomont-Relayson of Cabinets by Design collaborated with the Babos on the renovation project.

The Babos truly achieved their renovation goal: to bring the kitchen and home back to life, while keeping the original 1960s style and feel of the home intact.

3 – A Well-Appointed Kitchen

Louisiana Senator John Alario Jr. says that being able to cook with his grandchildren was the motivation behind renovating the kitchen of his Westwego home in the Dumonde Oaks subdivision.

“I wanted more space for us to dine and gather together,” he says.

What was previously two separate kitchen and dining rooms became one large multipurpose space by removing and replacing the wall with large doors.

The senator, who also owns John Alario Jr. Income Tax Services, lives in the home with his daughter, Jan. During the renovation, he upgraded all the appliances in the kitchen for a clean, modern look.

The Thermador steel appliances are particularly handsome additions to the new kitchen, accented by steel handles on the cabinets and drawers.

Sen. Alario used contractor Machi Medrzycki of MLM, Inc. and Ed Perrier of VIP Kitchens to help create his new space. Almost everything was locally sourced.

The cabinets, in a soft cream color, are from VIP Kitchens in Metairie. VIP also handled the installation of all the appliances.

The countertops and fixtures are from Triton Stone Gallery of Harahan, and the lighting is from Restoration Hardware in Lakeside Shopping Center. All backsplash material comes from Floor & Décor Design Gallery.

Alario says choosing the color was “a collective effort” between the contractors’ suggestions and his own personal taste.

“I reviewed several publications to get various ideas, which influenced my decisions,” he says.

The backsplash above the stove and opposite wall gives the otherwise soft-colored kitchen a pop of color. Little luxuries can be found tucked away throughout the space, including a wine cooler and glass-front cabinets above the stainless steel dishwasher.

The kitchen is well-appointed, and in the tradition of South Louisiana, the senate president says his favorite pastime is to spend time in the kitchen entertaining.
“I relax by cooking and having friends and family over,” he says. “We all have enjoyed the beauty and usefulness of the new area.”

4 – Spa-Like Serenity

Jackie Palumbo wanted the bathroom in her Lake Vista home to be the most relaxing room in the house. It started with a distinctive and delicate chandelier that caught and held her interest at first sight.

“I was driving down Magazine Street and saw this amazing glass chandelier in the window. It was nighttime, and it was lit up and beautiful. I said, ‘I have to go back,’” Jackie says.

She decided to re-create the spa-like atmosphere in her home’s master bathroom when she and her husband, Vincent, built their new house.

Simplicity is the tone for the all-white Italian marble bathroom on the top floor that offers a beautiful view of the nearby lake.

“We wanted to take advantage of the views; we really worked with the architect on that,” says Jackie.

The Palumbos chose contractor Gary Uhl with Caribbean Builders of Metairie to create the space. The all-white color design leaves room for creative and unique design touches.

“You can add any accent color to it – green towels or a green bench – everything goes with white,” Jackie notes.

The Palumbos carefully chose many of the bathroom fixtures themselves, including a Kohler Infinity tub and Kohler shower with dual showerheads that double as a steamer.

The most unique feature in the bathroom is the custom-made white double sink, specially made by builder Jay’s Solid Surface in Sulphur. A painting originally intended for a guest bedroom found its permanent home in the bathroom after Jackie noticed the subject, a woman, appears to be gracefully draped in a towel.

Those one-of-a-kind touches add to the unique and relaxing atmosphere of the room.

“It’s just clean and pure and very spa-like,” she says. “It’s really the most relaxing place in the house.”

5 – A Refreshing Renovation

A few extra inches of space can go a long way when it comes to bathroom renovation. That’s just what architect Jody Zeringue of SCNZ Architects proposed for an Agate Street home in Lakeview – to take a few inches from the adjacent bedroom to turn the bathroom into a noticeably more open place to relax.

Doreen Babo, a former Tulane School of Public Health professor, and her husband, Mark, a physician, bought and renovated the home in 2010. It had flooded during Hurricane Katrina. Like the rest of the house, the bathroom had been gutted and was awaiting a new look.

“We wanted it to look fresh and modern, but all the while keeping with the home’s mid-century modern aesthetic,” Doreen says. Key features she wanted were a separate tub and shower, double sinks, adequate storage and a private area for the toilet.

The Babos moved to California after the renovation and sold the home to Jack Adams. Yet Doreen recalls they were inspired to renovate the room around the four outstanding skylights that brought in plenty of natural light. The skylights were repositioned so that they took full advantage of the room.

“I loved lying in the tub and looking up at the sky, whether morning or night,” Doreen says.

The custom cabinets by California Closets allow the room to feel more spacious with its narrow, yet deep, storage space.

The color scheme is gray, gold and beige, matching the home’s original terrazzo floors that were expertly refurbished. To complement those colors, the bathroom countertops are silver vein-cut travertine with just a pop of color and texture from the tile walls. The tile came from ABC Tile & Stone and was installed with metal edging by Ted Johnson. The shower and glass partition are from Service Glass.

A “domineering square tub” was replaced by a Duravit rounded tub design. The acid-etched glass partition creates privacy without a thick and bulky feel. The result of the renovation is a beautiful, open and relaxing space.

6 – Inspired By Waterfalls

Deborah Taylor created a waterfall-inspired sanctuary for her master bathroom when she was renovating her Slidell home in the new Cross Gates subdivision. The bathroom hosts impressive aquatic features, including a soaker tub with a Sumerain waterfall faucet and a spacious 9-foot long shower that takes up an entire wall.

A ribbon of black-and-white patterned Flaminia Bianco tile runs down the center of the shower wall, giving the illusion of a cascade.

The shower is enclosed on three sides by Italian porcelain tile and a 7-foot glass enclosure. It featured two Rainhead showerheads, two hand-held showers and four body sprays – the ultimate in shower luxury. The mirror surround and "waterfall" comes from Floor & Décor Design Gallery.

Deborah, a certified pharmacy technician and IT specialist, and her husband, John, employed contractor Machi Medrzycki of MLM, Inc., to bring their waterfall dreams to life.

The same Flaminia Bianco cascading tile frames the mirror over the nearby vanity. The Taylors used the Delta Vero collection for the faucets on the sink, lavatory, tub and shower system. The sinks are white Mollie vessel sitting on Black Wood Cambria countertops. The vanity is custom-made from maple with a deep chocolate glaze. Illuminating the room from all sides are modern light fixtures in a Cubism design by Kovacs Lighting. There is a four-way and a two-way light fixture above the dual custom vanities, two cube pendant lights over the tub and three above the shower.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the total project and will certainly enjoy it for many years to come,” says Deborah.


Categories: Home Design/Decor, LL_Home