How to turn your home’s kitchen into your dream kitchen

Modern farmhouse kitchen

Dream kitchens
These concrete countertops are a weathered gray, but the material can be tinted other colors.

Photograph by Gregory Miller

Why we love the look
Concrete countertops, exposed brick walls, and metal windows and doors are contemporary in a natural, laid-back way, like a cottage you’d discover in Napa Valley.

About this kitchen
Russ and Kara Kiefer designed and sourced this industrial-chic kitchen themselves for their new house in the ecofriendly Serenbe neighborhood. Architect Steve Dray helped bring their plans to life. “We pretty much knew what we wanted from photos of other kitchens as well as friends with a similar design in their home,” says Kara. “We wanted the industrial barn look and wanted to carry the finishes throughout, which is why all our countertops are concrete and hardware is matte black.”

Dream kitchens
Floor-to-ceiling steel windows look out onto Serenbe’s horse pastures. Kara commissioned artisan Tracy Hartley, who helped create the interiors at Local 3 restaurant, to make the dining table.

Photograph by Gregory Miller

Dream kitchens
“We were pretty set on a black-and-white aesthetic,” says Kara. “We feel like the reclaimed elements really stand out because of it.” Their new house is all about contrasting materials: matte black cabinets with steel windows and doors next to white brick walls and white oak floors. Salvaged wood from the 1800s was made into ceiling beams.

Photograph by Gregory Miller

Essential elements
The black counter-to-ceiling steel window that divides the butler’s pantry from the main kitchen was the starting point, says Kara. The range is placed along a brick wall and flanked by more windows.

Concrete suggestions
“We definitely wanted a solid concrete island, with a bar where our kids could eat and a lot of working space while we’re cooking,” says Kara. “I wanted apron-front concrete sinks to mirror a farmhouse kitchen but still maintain the industrial look.” Concrete artisan Bill Thornton installed the surfaces on-site. The Kiefers love the informal elegance and patina of concrete. It’s often less expensive than granite, Kara adds. However, she has found that as concrete settles, small pinholes may appear that are hard to clean. “If you’re not okay with the color and surface changing as the surfaces age, I definitely would not choose concrete,” says Kara.

Dream kitchens
“I had seen a picture on Pinterest of a kitchen with a window dividing the seating area from the main kitchen and thought the idea would be a really neat addition for our butler’s pantry,” says Kara. “We entertain often, so having a place to dump dirty dishes when we have guests was important to us, but having that window [seen in top photo] instead of a wall makes the space feel bigger.” The pantry’s opposite wall, above, contains open shelving.

Photograph by Gregory Miller

Metal magic
Nothing says industrial like steel windows and doors. Kara and Russ commissioned theirs from Atlanta-based Forge Fine Steel. Because their property backs up to the Serenbe Stables, the ability to see out to the pastures was a priority. Be aware that steel windows and doors can cost twice as much as wooden ones.

Steve Dray, The Residential Design Studio, 404-806-0936
Concrete countertops and sinks: Thornton Concrete Studio, 706-295-5155
Metal windows and doors: Forge Fine Steel,
Pendant lantern: Restoration Hardware Outlet in Dawsonville,
All appliances: Viking,
Sink faucet: Vigo,
Hardware: My Knobs,
Chairs: Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn,