There’s no place like home. And no one knows that better than award-winning kitchen and bathroom designer Julie Stoner, who’s just returned to the Main Line after a few years in Florida. Formerly of the Rutt Studio and a Vassar Show House regular, Stoner is now with Devon Kitchen & Bath Design, where she specializes in high-end projects.
“Clients from the Main Line were calling me and asking me to come back and design their kitchens,” says Stoner.
And the slumping Florida housing market made the decision to return that much easier. “There’s no other place I’d rather work than here,” she says.
Among the most recent in a long list of satisfied customers: a Bryn Mawr home-owner struck by Stoner’s work in a Main Line Today feature published several years ago. “I held on to that article until I was ready to get my dream kitchen,” says the client. “I’ve seen Julie’s portfolio, and I’d take any of her kitchens and put them in my home.”
Stoner had her work cut out for her with this project—a 25-year-old kitchen with dated appliances, cabinetry and countertops. An adjacent outdoor area with a large patio and three-tiered gazebo is accessible through sliding glass doors. “I had other designers come out to look at the job, and they all wanted to blow-out the kitchen and expand it into our outdoor space,” says the owner.
That was not an option. “We spend so much time outdoors as a family and entertaining friends, we wanted to keep it as it is.”
Stoner assured the client that she could work within the existing layout. “That’s one of the most important aspects about this project—working with what we had,” she says.
In the past, Stoner has designed kitchens she knew would be more for show than for practical use. But she knew this project was different. These homeowners have four children.
That in mind, Stoner created a beautiful—and functional—space. Ample glazed cream cabinetry from Kountry Kraft features stunning crown and dentil moldings. A smattering of glass cabinets offer display space for an extensive collection of china and glassware. In a space where every inch counts, Stoner added a Hafele Magic Corner unit with pullout and swivel baskets. “People say this is a small kitchen by Main Line standards, but I have so much stuff,” says the homeowner. “Now I have a place for it all—and I love how I can have everything organized.”
A 48-inch professional Thermador range with a double oven is offset by an intricate medallion backsplash with jeweled tiles from Devon Tile and an antiqued copper hood. “We had an artisan antique the hood so it didn’t have a bold, shiny look,” says the owner.
From afar, the hood actually takes on a wood-like appearance. Copper also appears in the faucets, the second island sink and the cabinetry hardware. The main sink—also from Devon Tile—is farmhouse-style, carved from a piece of cream travertine marble. For the floor, Stoner chose an oak wood in a checkerboard pattern installed diagonally. “It provides movement in the room,” says Stoner.
A double-thick slab of Typhoon Bordeaux granite atop the island brings additional color. “When I first saw this granite, I was mesmerized,” says Stoner. “It looks like confetti bursting, with its veins of green, blue and burgundy—but it wasn’t too busy.”
Stoner designed the island with her signature “French curve” to allow for barstool seating. “I did it on an island featured in the Vassar Show House one year, and clients still request it,” she says.
This client couldn’t have been more pleased. “I was surprised that Julie was able to make an island this size,” she says.
For the remodel, the kitchen was opened up to the adjoining dining and family rooms. Now custom columns with glass cabinetry separate the newly expanded space from the family room. “Opening it up makes the kitchen radiate into the other rooms,” says Stoner. “Now, when they entertain, guests can feel comfortable moving from room to room.”
In the family room, a plush custom sectional in deep gold-and-brown tapestry is actually a reproduction of an Italian sofa the owner once admired. An accent wall in a deep plum highlights the massive cream marble fireplace.
The homeowner has a variety of eclectic accessories she’s collected from Main Line boutiques like Home Grown in Haverford and Via Bellissima in Bryn Mawr. “These are all found pieces that I love,” she says.
And that’s what makes the house so unique. “Its flavor and style is reflective of the community,” says Stoner.
Off the family room are two “light” and “dark” living spaces. The former is a glass-enclosed sunroom with a marble, rectangular fountain, a travertine marble floor, light mint walls and comfortable wicker furniture. A glass table doubles as a desk for the lady of the house. “I really enjoy using this room,” says the owner.
The other space is everything the sunroom is not—with its black patterned wallpaper and rich woodwork. “It’s the man cave,” says Stoner.
The family treasures its custom-made Sticks game table in the center of the room. “When we have large parties we use this table to eat on, too,” says the owner.
Now that she has the kitchen of her dreams, the owner is enlisting Stoner’s help for other parts of the home. “A house is always a work in progress,” she says.
Kitchen Design: Julie Stoner, Devon Kitchen & Bath Design, 101 E. Lancaster Ave., Devon; (610) 688-1201, devonremodeling.com
Tile: Roberta Cyronak, Devon Tile & Design Studio, 111 E. Lancaster Ave., Devon; (610) 687-3368, devontile.com