A Feast of Firsts

Photo by David Dietrich
Photo by David Dietrich

“Youthful but precise” is how M. Scott Marks verbally shapes the look of Sarah Thomas-Moore and Ben Moore’s artistically modern Asheville kitchen. Scott is a recent transplant to the area, continuing his interiors work in the mountains after 30 years in New York City. (A celebrated designer from a city packed with them, he was featured in Metropolis Magazine in 2003 for his groundbreaking work on Manhattan’s Solaire, the first “green” residential high rise in the country.)

The Thomas-Moore home denotes another first — Scott’s inaugural major project in WNC. “It’s also the first house the young couple has built,” the designer points out. He met the pair at a Modern Asheville mixer event, and calls himself “blessed with very open-minded and progressive clients,” as well as “incredible” contractors from Wright Family Builders.

That panoply of fresh energy gleams hard in the finished product. The space is streamlined yet immediate, framed like a MOMA painting within the sleek lines of the cabinetry, the major appliances, the long apron sink, and the sharp-hewn kitchen island.

Yet all the metal is softened by creamy neutrals and insets of wood. “It would be hard to confine this kitchen to any one style — there’s a little bit of farmhouse, mountain, urban, modern, and West Coast all represented here,” notes cabinet maker Cris Bifaro.

The challenge of modern lies in using quality, local-when-possible materials that can stand the onslaught of a fulfilling life, but not look too industrial. The easy veneer-core surface used on the passage jambs and bookcases is a material not yet widely seen in regional interiors, according to Scott. On the other hand, at least one aspect of Ben and Sarah’s lifestyle is quintessential Asheville, and Scott had to plan accordingly: “They have two large dogs, so we opted for large areas of porcelain tile both for durability and maintenance.”

“After coming from 1,000 square feet in our condo downtown, we wanted enough space that we weren’t going to be bumping into each other all the time,” notes Sarah, an entrepreneur who owns Worry Free Concierge. (Ben is a systems architect at Mission Hospital.) “We wanted more storage than our small kitchen previously had, and enough room to have friends over. Since people always gather in the kitchen, it had to be big enough to fit everyone.”

Interior Designer M. Scott Marks Sustainable Interiors
Builder Wright Family Custom Homes
Cabinetry Cris Bifaro Woodworks
Countertops Viktor’s Granite & Marble
Flooring Personal Touch
Lighting House Electric
Paint Armando’s Painting
Tile Crossville Tile & Stone

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