Old World Grandeur, Next-Level Flow

Custom appointments do the work in a rustic kitchen redo

Luxe-rustic cabinetry in Balsam Mountain Retreat. Even the island top looks like wood (but is really Brazilian quartzite, sourced from Mountain Marble).
Photo by David Dietrich

Some things are meant to be, and this had-to-happen kitchen exists because an Indiana couple knew just what they wanted — several times over. Smitten after vacationing in Western North Carolina years ago, they kept returning, hoping to retire here. During a 2005 weekend visit, they took one look at a lot in Sylva’s high-elevation Balsam Mountain Preserve, and bought it then and there.

“We’ve loved it here the last 13 years,” says the homeowner. She adds: “We’ve made the best friends of our lives in this community.” But after living for a while in their dream home, the couple realized that even paradise needs occasional tweaking. About five years ago, they embarked on a major renovation/addition project to open up some flow, including gaining better access to a long-range western-facing vista with spectacular sunsets. The result of the effort “completely changed the look of our home, greatly improved its functioning, and showcased our stunning view.”

For starters, she says, she simply wanted to repaint the kitchen cabinets — a cheap, easy upgrade. “But my husband countered with, ‘Why don’t we redo the whole thing?’ — so we went for it.” 

She goes on to describe the interior as “fairly rustic, with an open plan — lots of warm wood throughout, from knotty-chestnut ceiling beams to reclaimed-oak barnwood floors.” 

Folks who know wood know texture — and the homeowners made another quick decision upon entering Packard Cabinetry’s Hendersonville showroom: “I was instantly struck by a certain cabinet door’s texture and elegant vibe,” continues the wife.

The custom corner cabinet by Packard Cabinetry is a focal point, 
as is the sparkling ceramic-tile back-splash (Crossville Studios).
Photo by David Dietrich

 John Packard, founder and owner of Packard Cabinetry with his wife, Rae — the company has locations in Western North Carolina, Raleigh, and New York State — says he enjoyed working with the couple and remembers this process. “The homeowners are definitive about what they like,” he confirms. Once their eyes picked out the Ruskin series cabinet-door design by Rutt HandCrafted Cabinetry, “that was it.”

Packard describes the Ruskin model as “wonderfully textural, wire brushed, and gives added depth with a burnt-umber English saddle stain. … True to the line’s being named after the 19th-century preeminent English art critic, the cabinet style is transitional and conveys a simple yet restrained complexity.”

Never a fan of stainless steel, the wife opted for a statement-making range hood. “We found Raw Urth Designs in Colorado, who do amazing fabrications. They sent us metal samples and we went with a gunmetal shade accented by clavos — a nailhead detail that gives the hood a crafted, Old World feel,” she explains. 

Set against a sparkling, ceramic-tile backdrop, the hood’s patina complements the room’s striking light fixtures, from Hammerton’s modern line. Above the island, two rectangular hanging pendants cast a sweet glow, thanks to warmly hued glass. Recessed ceiling lights offer additional illumination, and sconces flanking the hood are embellished with leafy detailing. “I love the kitchen at night, when we tend just to use the sconces and pendants,” says the homeowner. “It feels like a library.”  

The island is a workhorse, though, and matches the cabinetry. It houses trash and recycling bins, a beverage fridge and icemaker, dishwasher, silverware, dishes, and spices. “I chose black hardware and wanted the island top to be dark, too — to complement the hood but contrast with the cabinets.” The wood-look countertops are made of Brazilian Sandalus quartzite. 

The kitchen’s most prized feature, though, is likely the corner cabinet. The homeowner brought a Pinterest photo to the Packard team, who got creative. The resulting installation “utilizes the space beautifully, efficiently, and so much is at my fingertips, like countertop appliances, but stored away, so no clutter,” she says. About this customization, Packard adds, “The glass lightens the weight of the dark cabinetry, yet provides a unique corner pantry closet.”

The redone kitchen, rich in form and function, “feels like living space,” concludes the homeowner, “and flows easily with the rest of the house.”

Packard Cabinetry: Custom Kitchen Cabinetry in NY and NC, 416 South King St., Hendersonville. For more information, call 828-393-3082 or see packardcabinetry.com


General Contractor: Bill Miller, Carolina Heritage Builders (Waynesville)

Cabinetry: Packard Cabinetry (Hendersonville)

Island top and countertops: Mountain Marble (Asheville)

Ceramic-tile backsplash: Crossville Studios (Fletcher)

Appliances: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery (Asheville)

Lighting: Hammerton from Modern Lighting Design Store (Charlotte)

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