W.G. Tait, Inc. Bear Lake Trading Company Home Page

This gold-medal-winning kitchen's rustic look belies its professional gourmet appeal.
Story by Dawn Schuler
Photos by E. Anthony Valainis

Designer Shari Porter describes the cabinets, opposite, as "a very distressed barn-red and forest-green." The hearth room off the kitchen, right, provokes a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy a view of the lake.

When you want your traditional log cabin to look like a rustic camping lodge, you can't install new, pristine fixtures. That's why homeowners Bill and Barb Tait knew they had to tread carefully when they were in the planning stages of building their Michigan summer home. Bill, an Indy custom-home builder, and his wife, Barb consulted with Shari Porter, kitchen designer at Reese Kitchens, to come up with just the right design touches to keep their kitchen in line with the lodge look. Porter suggested starting with red- and green-painted maple cabinetry that would reflect the rustic look the Taits were going for.

"The irregularity of the home is part of its beauty," says Porter, who had to have the cabinets sculpted out to fit on the curved logs of the walls. To add a softer look to the room, some of the cabinets were fitted with seeded-glass fronts. "Seeded glass is semitransparent and has an antique look to it," Porter says.

With the cabinets chosen, the rest of the kitchen design flowed naturally. Another key consideration in the planning process was the Taits' entertaining and gourmet food- preparation needs. "This is a two-cook kitchen with all the amenities to fit their lifestyle," says Porter, referring to the kitchen's professional eight-burner cooktop, griddle, double oven and Sub-Zero stainless-steel refrigerator.

Aside from the distressed cabinets, the Taits chose other materials that exude a natural, homey feel. The countertops are made of granite, and the floors are knotty cypress. Extra-deep drawers accommodate pot and pan storage, and apothecary drawers give the kitchen a more furniture-like feel. Furthering the aged look in the kitchen, the island features a reproduction antiqued wall hung faucet as well as a seating area for light suppers.

Porter says her favorite part of the kitchen design is the color. "It's fun, motivating and inviting. It's nice to see people aren't afraid of color."

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