Open and sunny, the Cherners' kitchen projects a fashionable forecast.
Clean, Fresh Style

Each year our Southern Home Awards judging presents us with the challenge of determining the best. Sometimes it's easy. Great at first glance, this Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, cottage was the obvious choice for the cleverest conversion of sagging style. Architect Ankie Barnes took a light-handed approach to incorporating coastal cues resulting in the Cherner family's ideal getaway and the pinnacle of seaside sophistication.

Andy and Abby wanted a kitchen that was equally suited for entertaining and handling the demands of four beach-ready kids. They got all that and more in this sumptuous space full of maritime magnificence.

The Material Point
While the Cherners wanted to adhere to a nautical motif, the kitchen had to have all the functionality of dry land. Ankie teamed up with designer Jodi Macklin to combine high seas and high style with a mix of materials evocative of the family's favorite seagoing vessels.

Clean white floors complement the cabinetry and island. A minimal number of upper cabinets keeps the space open. In their place, cantilevered antique chestnut shelves, reminiscent of a ship's deck, add an organic touch. The shelves display plain white dishware against a wall of deep royal blue tile. Nothing says nautical like blue and white! The stainless steel appliances and large hanging light fixtures over the island call to mind metal boat fittings.

Monochrome Magic
Because the original kitchen had been small and enclosed, Jodi wanted to open up the area and give it a splash of color. She took out the walls dividing the kitchen, eating area, and dining room to make one expansive space. "I wanted to keep it very clean and modern," she says. "But I still wanted it to say beach house." It does. The large weathered wood farm table reflects the tones of driftwood.

However, to prevent the look from becoming too thematic, Jodi introduced very modern Donghia Anziano chairs. It's a look that's fresh, unexpected, and interesting--a great combination. The restrained choice of colors helps make the area seem twice as large without altering the overall dimensions of the space.