Photos by Chelsie Lopez
“She’s a spitfire,” says designer Danielle Lardani of her client, Toni Ghilani. “Toni and her husband are Italian and my family’s Sicilian, so there was a ton of energy between us and we clicked right away.” (Good thing, too, because the kitchen in this Eagan home “was super 1990s, with a lot of honey oak, a huge refrigerator that stuck out into the main cooking space, and no room for a table,” says Ghilani.)
Moreover, Ghilani wanted the biggest island possible—the one non-negotiable—not only for prep, but as a table around which her growing family could gather and friends could hang out. Additionally, two load-bearing walls were removed to open the kitchen to the dining and living spaces. Lardani, a designer with Studio M Kitchen & Bath, figured it all out.
After a new support beam was placed, Lardani installed a multipurpose island within the kitchen’s existing footprint. The island’s gray-green color complements the kitchen’s rustic beech cabinetry, white quartz MSI countertops, and gray-green shiplap hood over the Bertazzoni range.
“The Bertazzoni is a statement range,” Ghilani says. “It has the aesthetic we wanted, it is contemporary but has a traditional vibe, and it has six burners.” Lardani adds, “The Bertazzoni completes the entire space with its old-world feel. Entering this kitchen, you know you’re in a cook’s happy space.”
Lardani also included a larder cabinet next to the range with baskets and shelves for essential dry goods. On each side of this ingenious “pantry” are open cabinets for wine glasses and cookbooks, plus floating shelves for home décor. Other cabinets were designed especially for knives, spices, utensils, silverware, pans, and more. The microwave is hidden in the island as it is seldom used. Mixed metals including brushed-brass hardware, and the stainless refrigerator, farmhouse sink, and faucet add bright touches. The oil-rubbed bronze of the island pendants creates harmony with the cabinetry, Ghilani says, while the light fixtures above the sink have an old-school aesthetic but with clean lines.
Black-rimmed windows and the black barn door leading to the new mudroom are “gorgeous against the gray-green and dark-stained cabinetry,” Lardani says. After she bought the unfinished barn door, Ghilani’s husband stained it a dark gel black, along with the shiplap above the bench in the mudroom.
Lardani says her client requested a modern farmhouse feel—but not white. The result is a functional kitchen with Italian flair. Whether crafting cappelletti pasta from a family recipe, cooking a cut of fish, or conjuring fun spins on healthy food, Ghilani says, “This kitchen, especially with the Bertazzoni range, allows me to make a lot more food at one time.” That’s amore.