One of the main reasons Kathy and Kevin McGrath purchased their Oakton home more than 20 years ago was the expansive backyard view that opens to 26 acres of common area that features a horse-riding range and walking trails.

It wasn't until they had the kitchen remodeled using Synergy Design & Construction, however, that they could enjoy the view from inside the house.

"Now I can look from the inside of my kitchen all the way out to the outdoors," said Kathy McGrath. "We can enjoy the view just by being in my kitchen."

Synergy Design & Construction
Stonebridge Woodworks

The old kitchen was dark and dated with a tiny window that looked out onto a porch that had been converted into a sunroom. Kathy McGrath said they put off remodeling because she feared it would disrupt the family schedule. The delay enabled her to map out a comprehensive wish list of remodeling changes -- and at the top was opening the space so she could enjoy the wooded area she loves.

"I think the most challenging aspect may have been fitting everything that Kathy wanted into the space while keeping it both functional and aesthetically focused," said Synergy President Mina Fies. "Although we opened up the space visually, for the most part, the footprint of the kitchen remained in the same-sized area as before."

The new kitchen cabinetry was custom-built by Stonebridge Woodworks of Stoystown, Pa., which had done previous work for the family at another home. They are a beautiful two-tone; a rich cherry on most of the perimeter cabinets and a deep mahogany stain on the island. There also is a curiolike piece that looks like stand-alone furniture.

The overall look is modern, with a nod to the traditional that blends with the home's colonial architecture.

Soffits that housed a tangled mess of wires were removed and replaced by small cabinets with glass doors to display a collection of Waterford crystal.

The kitchen flows around the island. "The placement of the island was very important to her and her husband," Fies said. "They love enjoying the view through their sunroom to their backyard, and in the old kitchen they felt hindered by the exterior brick wall that separated the two spaces. By opening up the space and orienting the island to face both the kitchen as well as the backyard, they got the best of both worlds."

Synergy also created a beverage bar area just off the kitchen. "Creating a bar entertainment area where a once little-used closet was located helped to unify this space as functional and part of the rest of their home," Fies said. "When having guests over, there is now great traffic flow from the main kitchen to the beverage area, which helps keeps the party moving."