A Museum-Quality Kitchen

THE HEART-OF-THE-HOME IS THE CROWNING GLORY IN A TEXAS LAKE HOUSE.

Designed By: Eugenio Reyes and Nicole George Photos By: Michael Hunter

As if the sunrise and sunset views of Cedar Creek Lake—a majestic sprawl seen floor to ceiling from Randy and Mena Whaley’s kitchen and breakfast nook—weren’t enough, the space is a gleaming testament to simplicity and beauty down to every minor detail. “It is truly one of our favorite places,” Randy says.

It’s easy to see why—and makes sense considering the outcome is the result of the couple’s vision. They knew exactly what they wanted for their chef-worthy space in their new lake home built by Mabry Custom Homes right at the shore. Given that the couple had worked with Cantoni designers on two previous homes and knew of Cantoni's extensive kitchen lines and services, they knew where to turn. After meeting with kitchen design specialist Eugenio Reyes-Retana—who showed them numerous model kitchens firsthand in the Dallas showroom—they were smitten.

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Crafted with native materials, the home reads contemporary, inviting and sophisticated. The feeling was extended to the kitchen, with its dramatic drop-down ceiling tiled with large, reflective white porcelain sheets suspended some 20 feet below the formal ceiling. “The suspended ceiling was born out of practicality and necessity,” Randy says, adding that determining how to light the island was a challenge when blueprinting the home. “This led us to hang a false ceiling from steel beams, and then finding a way to decorate it to match the kitchen motif.”

For seamlessness, they wrapped the side panels of the suspended ceiling in oak to match the flooring, and added the gleaming tiles. They hung shimmering glass and chrome fixtures to illuminate the waterfall white-quartz-topped island below, a design by Eugenio. Eugenio assisted with every design detail, from uniquely sized drawers around the island to hide plates, bowls, silverware, trash bins, and more, to hardware.

But perhaps the most beautiful element is the Aster Cucine cabinetry, an easy decision for Randy and Mena, whose primary goal for their kitchen was for it to have a sleek, elegant aesthetic that reads museum-quality throughout. “One of the main reasons we chose this kitchen design, beyond its cool factor, was to create a 20-foot wall of white high gloss lacquer that showcased our kitchen like fine Italian furniture,” Randy says. “This approach, with sliding cabinet doors, was an easy way to hide appliances and kitchen goods.”

Every appliance—including the oven, refrigerator, and a pull-out stainless-steel worktop—is tucked behind nine-foot, white high-gloss lacquer doors that fold and slide seamlessly. Opening the doors in the gallery-esque room is akin to revealing a secret, beautiful cook’s workspace. “All of Cantoni’s kitchen systems had many cool features, from sleek designs and high-lacquer finishes to organization, vertical strip lighting at the hinges and easy-open cabinets—but when Eugenio showed me a video about Aster Cucine’s features, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to install,” Randy says.

The cabinetry, all painstakingly handcrafted by the Italian maker’s team, “creates a stunning effect of simplicity,” Randy says. The adjoining wall holds nine-foot, high-gloss cabinets with a trio of symmetrically inset Miele appliances, which Eugenio recommended to keep the look “clean and consistent.” The goal, Randy says, “was to create a wall of art in the kitchen and the Miele appliances did just that, with white on white.” At each end, 12-foot-deep pullout cabinets hold unique spices and other goods to maintain the gallery feel.

Together, Eugenio and Randy created a kitchen that the Whaleys will treasure for years to come. “Eugenio made things easy,” Randy says, pointing out that he, “was terrific throughout the entire design phase, adding tremendous insights and value across all aspects of the kitchen design.”

In addition to helping the Whaleys create their dream kitchen, the couple also tapped Cantoni designer Nicole George for their interiors and finish out. Check out the full home tour, here.

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