Killer Kitchens

Feast your eyes on three showstopping kitchens in Arlington and McLean.


A New Classic

Once their three kids were grown, empty nesters Mike Rogan and Sue Shaffer decided to leave their Arlington home of 27 years and make a change.

Photo by Michael K. Wilkinson

“We had been living in an old restored farmhouse that had three additions put onto it over the years,” explains Shaffer, a retired educator, formerly with George Washington University. (Rogan is a corporate lawyer.) “The rooms were small and we wanted something newer so we could age in place and accommodate live-in caretakers if necessary.”

After a two-year search for the right house, the couple came up empty. That is, until Shaffer learned about a property in McLean while chatting with her doctor during an office visit.

The existing house on the property wasn’t optimal, Shaffer says, but the lot, located near Pimmit Run Stream Valley Park, was a good size and ringed by mature trees. The couple bought it in the winter of 2012 and were soon working with architect David Benton of Bethesda-based Rill Architects on a new vision of home—one with a Victorian-style exterior, an open floor plan and plenty of room for big gatherings.

The kitchen of their newly constructed home, built by Warrenton-based West Wing Builders, connects to the rear patio, family room, dining room and garage, and serves as a hub of activity. Marked by natural finishes and clean lines, it offers a few contemporary twists on Victorian details, such as glass cabinets and paneled woodwork.

Except that it isn’t cramped in the manner of a vintage kitchen. The ample space is set up for multiple cooks, with an island and peninsulas designed as workstations. This comes in handy when the kids come home to visit, Shaffer says. “[The island] turned out twice as big as I envisioned it, but I can do everything and anything on it.”

Key Ingredients:

  •  Decorative platters from the owners’ collection serve as functional art.
  •  Maple cabinets are outfitted with brushed-nickel hardware and furniture-like “feet” (a contemporary nod to Victorian styling).
  •  Elegant millwork in the ceiling and walls puts a fresh spin on a classic aesthetic.
  •  Verde Borgogna granite countertops and teal glass tile backsplashes provide a cool complement to the blond cabinets and hickory floors.


Categories: Home & Design