Five-Star Service Kitchen
This kitchen turns up the heat with an exceptional island and distinctive touches.Top-notch Tile
The backsplash is a great place to get creative because you don't need a lot of tile. Adding trim, mosaics, ornamental pieces, and color to standard tumbled marble turns blah into beautiful. The backsplash becomes art. Trust us: You won't regret paying extra attention here. A neat backsplash can really take a kitchen up a level.
Planned Down to the Last Light
The lighting in this kitchen is so smart you won't even notice it's special. (That's what makes it good.) First, every switch has a dimmer, including the can lights. This helps set the mood, saves more energy than you might think (up to a 40% savings when dimmed halfway), and extends the life of the bulbs.
In a good lighting plan, there are light sources at every level. Recessed cans in the ceiling brighten the whole kitchen; one even accents the plate on the mantel. Task lighting under the upper cabinets illuminates the work surfaces. The beautiful yet simple chandelier provides a decorative touch. Lights inside the glass-front cabinets help highlight the Vissers' colorful dishware collection.
Builder was Chris Ettel, VB Homes, Virginia Beach, Virginia; www.vbcontractors.com or  491-1996.
"Five-Star Service" is from the March 2008 issue of Southern Living.
It's in the Details . . .
Handcrafted ceramic dishes by Florida artist Susan Painter (www.susanpainterpottery.com) bring this kitchen to life. There is no overlooking the amazing attention to detail in the crown molding. Dentil molding, which looks like teeth, gives this family kitchen a formal style. A mix of small square tiles and carved borders creates a unique backsplash that complements the intricate details found elsewhere in the kitchen. Use otherwise leftover space to add more storage. Here, wine bottles are separated and organized in sections under the island workspace.