kitchens that cook
C U S T O M B U I L T M E E T S D I Y
WHEN Damon and Georgia Savas left their
2,800-square-foot, three-story house in North
Topsail Beach in favor of building a 1,450-square-foot,
Craftsman-style cottage in downtown Wilm-ington,
squeezing everything into a smaller space was a challenge.
“One thing we knew we needed was a large, functioning
kitchen,” Georgia Savas says. “I am a decent cook but Damon has
worked in restaurants off and on throughout his life, so he spends a
lot of time prepping, dicing, baking and roasting.”
The couple opted for an expansive stainless-steel island to serve as
a centerpiece, emphasizing its durability. Built by local craftsman
Billy Vaughn of Wilmington Sheet Metal, it has space for three bar
stools and measures almost 9 feet long.
“This is the third stainless island we’ve had, because it’s the best
functional prep material around. Unlike other surfaces, it actually
looks better the more you use it,” Savas says.
To balance the sleek industrial aesthetic of the center island,
leathered granite counters, light fixtures, and gray and dark metallic
cabinetry, the couple brought in wood hutches from Home Again,
a local store in Landfall, along with hickory for the trim above the
backsplash and flooring.
“The wood hutches break up the monotony of the grays beauti-fully,”
The couple wanted hickory planks for the flooring, but was
told anything wider than 5 ½ inches would be impossible unless
engineered wood was incorporated into the design, as the moisture
content in the air would cause them to buckle and/or cup.
The Savases eventually found Jon McDow of Coastal Live Edge,
who explained that many wider planks buckle and cup because the
trees are not locally sourced or dried in a local kiln. McDow said it
is possible to go as wide as the tree for the planks, if the sourcing,
processing and drying is done locally.
“If you’ve never seen Jon’s work you are missing out,” Savas says.
“This young guy felled the hickory trees in Hampstead, dried the
wood in his homemade kiln and milled them himself — installing
them in the old top-nailed fashion.”
As with many other things in life, having to spend a lot of time
and effort made the process and the experience more meaningful.
april 2021 54