This modern cook's dream space in a ranch-style house is spacious, gracious, and anything but retro.
Kitchen with Brass Circa Lighting pendants and Schoolhouse Electric hardware
Brass (Circa Lighting) pendants and (Schoolhouse Electric) hardware mix seamlessly with a stainless steel dishwasher.
| Credit: Leslee Mitchell

Gen and Benjamin Sohr, the principals (she's a designer, he's an architect) behind Pencil + Paper Development Co., based in Nashville, have made it their mission to restore the city's untouched gems. So it's no surprise that transforming a low-slung 1960s house tucked into a hillside made them giddy. With a few signature design moves, the Sohrs rescued this diamond in the rough.

Nashville Design Team: Pencil + Paper Development Co.; pencilandpaperco.comSize: 360 square feet Materials: brick, Carrara marble, antique brass, and stainless steel

LOADS OF LIGHT French doors, which were installed after hauling 30 truckloads of dirt to create a courtyard off the kitchen, welcome in floods of natural light. Chic brass pendants provide a source of both decorative and task lighting.

SMART STORAGE Rather than cabinets, the Sohrs installed a single floating shelf that runs the length of one wall—all the better to access everyday items more easily. "The shelf prevents the room from looking overly ‘kitchen-y,' " says Gen. A butler's pantry complete with built-ins connects to a food pantry, both of which can be closed off to preserve the main room's serenity.

WORTHY SPLURGE The couple made the decision to install a hearth where there was once faux brick and paneling. "It is one of the most decadent additions ever, but because it brings so much life to the space, it's worth it," explains Gen.

A WAY WITH WHITE Nothing refreshes a space quite like a coat of bright white paint. Gen uses it with abandon to tie together disparate materials and elements.