When most people contact kitchen designer Allie Mann, their goal is to update a space, taking it from old to new.

That got reversed when the Case Design/Remodeling expert convinced an Alexandria family to retreat from new to old.

Using three aging techniques, Case gave the kitchen an old-style makeover that, oddly enough, makes it feel more modern.

Case Design/Remodeling
Crystal Cabinet Works
grohe.com/us">Grohe Bridgeford

"The homeowner was looking for something with a richer, warmer feel and tone to it that would resonate with the rest of the furnishings of the home," Mann said.

The family had what most would consider a beautiful modern white kitchen with sleek black granite countertops and stainless steel vikingrange.com">Viking and subzero-wolf.com">Sub-Zero appliances.

Yet the homeowners felt the kitchen missed the mark in terms of atmosphere. It felt less inviting than the sunlight-drenched great room connected to it.

The aging process began with cinnamon-stained knotty alder wood cabinets. These reddish-brown cabinets complemented the honey hardwood floors, even before aging.

Crystal Cabinet Works supplied Case with cabinets after the aging process was complete. Angela Ewald, who manages the paint department at Crystal, said the company goes to great pains to make each piece look different.

"Everything is done by hand, each piece is done by a different person. This gives you a very customized look," Ewald said.

This process is more time-consuming and expensive. Crystal uses a press to create worm holes. To simulate wearing, craftsmen take the edges of the door front and use orbital sanders to produce an effect that looks like deteriorating painted finish.

In distressing, a hammerlike tool with miscellaneous objects attached to it was used to bang the cabinet doors.

"These do an excellent job of simulating older cabinetry. We can make it look like the wood was painted over," Ewald said.

The cabinets were paired with a caesarstoneus.com">Caesarstone quartz countertop in Jerusalem sand color with a small ogee edge profile detail. A stone backsplash in similar tones replaced a glossy, blue-painted wall that clashed with the warmer color scheme.

The homeowners wanted the warm look of a slate floor, but were concerned about the maintenance and upkeep of natural stone in a high-traffic area.

Case project designer Jim Wrenn suggested a porcelain slate with high variation to provide the look and feel of slate but not the maintenance.

Natural stone was used over the fireplace, where maintenance was not an issue.

The inspiration behind the color scheme was brick the family wanted incorporated into the backsplash material. Wrenn said he chose 3-by-6 honey, glossy hand-molded ceramic tile for the backsplash that would also complement other finishes, such as the floor and fireplace surround.

Case kept the stainless steel appliances but replaced the plumbing fixtures, adding a mirabelleproducts.com">Mirabelle stainless steel double-bowl sink and grohe.com/us">Grohe Bridgeford faucet in brushed nickel.

The kitchen-to-great-room transition included some structural details that needed to remain intact, said Wrenn, including a pair of load-bearing columns. Case built a stylized header to match the redesigned columns and fireplace mantel.