Solutions: Classic choices in fashion today, tomorrow

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

Design trends may come and go, but a classic kitchen is meant to stick around. This point is skillfully proven by Jennifer Taylor, principal designer and owner of Jennifer Taylor Studio in Royal Oak, who created a timeless style for this fully renovated space in Ann Arbor.

She describes the fresh aesthetic of the open and airy kitchen as “modern rustic.”

An understated beauty is evident in distinctive details like the hand cast handles on the cabinetry. “It’s very organic and simple,” Taylor says.

The remodeled room was designed for family time. “This is where the homeowners sit because there is no kitchen table, just a formal dining room. It’s a nice seating area,” she says.

Her original clients, who have since moved, did a lot of entertaining in the updated space. “She had a hard time saying goodbye to her kitchen,” Taylor says of her client. “They used it for three or four years and they made new memories there.”

The new configuration took a stylish approach to storage with an array of cabinetry. Stainless steel appliances were among the many upgrades.

Wood floors ground the space while echoing the warmth of the wood seats on the adjustable barstools and the distressed walnut countertop on one side of the island.

Another part of the T-shaped island is topped with antiqued granite. “It’s in between honed and shiny,” Taylor says. “You get a nice glow, but you don’t get the high sheen.”

A series of schoolhouse-style pendant lights hang from above, while an antique pine armoire was added to stash cookbooks and bulky serving pieces like bowls.

It’s not just the way the space looks that’s important, but the way it performs with the help of convenient features like a bar sink, multiple pantry cabinets and more. “It’s a fairly large kitchen made pretty cozy with the island,” says Taylor. “The sink, cooktop and refrigerator create one of the tightest work triangles in a kitchen of this size.”

This formation is especially helpful when entertaining. “It’s really a nice tight space for the cook who can stay in that little zone,” she says. “Everybody else can be zooming around like crazy and the cook is pretty uninterrupted.”

The kitchen feels even more spacious with the addition of windows along a wall that previously featured a stacked oven and a door wall that was relocated to a better spot. “It keeps everybody out of the cooking zone,” says Taylor.

Part of the essence of the timeless style is that the room reveals its natural beauty in such an unassuming way, as seen in the hand mold wavy subway tile and the woven raffia window treatments that lend texture to the space.

“It’s an extremely pleasant space to be in and it’s not pretentious,” Taylor says.

For information, contact Jennifer Taylor Studio at 248-582-9450 or go to

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at