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What’s goes into creating the anatomy of a kitchen? It takes time, vision and, help from the pros to pull all the pieces together into a kitchen that’s suited for the homeowner’s needs. We take a look at how two kitchens in Lancaster and York achieved this feat.


{This comfortably sophisticated kitchen in Lancaster’s School Lane Hills neighborhood is anchored by masterfully crafted custom cabinets, a dynamic, custom built, industrial-style range hood and a large island that integrates the working kitchen area and the entertaining aspects of the space.}


Comfortably Sophisticated

The Kitchen of Kathleen Gerbert and Bryan Yingling  |  Lancaster, PA

For the first time in recent memory, Kathleen Gerbert and her husband, Bryan Yingling, were anticipating leaving their weekend home in Chesapeake City, MD, for an even more familiar destination—their recently renovated School Lane Hills home.

“We spend most of our summers away. We kept thinking, ‘we really should go home and enjoy our new space,’” says Kathleen.

The nine-month renovation/addition expanded existing and added new living spaces including a new bedroom, pantry, office and more. The showpiece: A light-drenched, 660-square-foot kitchen thoughtfully designed to give this busy family the amenities, space and style they craved.

Kathleen and Bryan are physicians at May Grant Associates, where they first met 25 years ago. Today, their lives are full with the activities of their two daughters, boating, their involvement with the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and their mutual love of cooking.

The couple had mulled over the idea of an addition for several years. The home’s original kitchen was on the smaller side, so mealtimes and homework often spilled into the dining room for the family of four. Cooking together was challenging in the former kitchen’s smaller footprint.

“We wanted to have a kitchen table where the kids could sit and do their homework and still have my ear while my hands work in the kitchen,” Kathleen says.

Today, the sophisticated yet comfortable kitchen boasts a roomy workspace where Kathleen and Bryan can cook alongside each other while entertaining guests or catching up on the girls’ day. Anchored by an oversized island with comfortable seating, the space beckons guests to pull up a seat and see what’s cooking.

The project is a culmination of the time and talents of several local professionals, builders and craftsmen whom Kathleen carefully sourced. Architect Tom Weaver got the couple “off the fence” and designed the plans for the new addition.

“Everything that was on my ‘needs’ list was there, plus a new bedroom on the second floor, which wasn’t part of our original plans. He made everything seem practical and doable,” says Kathleen.
Having decided on custom cabinetmaker Christopher Ness of Denver to design, fabricate and install the cabinets, Kathleen sought out a kitchen designer who could give and take in the creative process. She found the ideal match in Eileen Riddle from Lititz-based Kitchens by Eileen.

“Eileen brought us the floor plan we could envision ourselves living in and set us on the right path,” says Kathleen.

Riddle designed a floor plan that broke up the large space by incorporating several “zones” dedicated to various tasks and functions, including a work zone, clean-up area, entertaining space, beverage bar and eating space.

“The size of the kitchen was quite expansive, so I worked to create the nooks and spaces that kept it comfortable while still allowing it to be free-flowing from one space to the next,” says Riddle.

With the floor plan complete, Kathleen worked closely with Ness on the cabinet design fine-tuning, a process that gave her a deep appreciation for the skill of cabinetmaking. “He’s really an artist at heart. He went through the design inch by inch, then built and installed the cabinets himself.”

To give the white cabinets an authentic finish that was easier to touch up over the years, Ness suggested a process that involves spraying and then hand-painting the cabinets. In creating kitchen cabinetry, Ness aims for an integrated look by picking up on details in the millwork throughout the home.

“I feel like success is when the kitchen fits the space and looks like it’s been there the whole time,” comments Ness.

For the range, the couple decided on a 38” BlueStar made in Reading, PA. Given their culinary passion, the couple thoroughly researched the appliance, even making a trip to the factory to learn more. Kathleen’s practical take on buying local: “I like that if I need a part or something repaired, the factory’s right there.”

The range is complemented by an eye-catching, industrial-style hood that Kathleen discovered in a magazine. To help her with interior design choices, Kathleen hired Henrietta Heisler of Henrietta Heisler Interiors, Inc. With Heisler’s help, Kathleen found a local welder with an artistic flair to fabricate and install the stunning stainless steel hood.

Appliances are seamlessly integrated: A drawer microwave tucked into the island, a paneled-front dishwasher in the clean-up area, built-in speed and wall ovens adjacent to the range. The paneled Miele refrigerator is just that—a refrigerator. Opting to house the freezer in the pantry made sense to Kathleen, who found she always had the need for more room and better accessibility for refrigerated foods and less for frozen.

Small appliances are accessible but kept out of sight with appliance garages set back into the next room on either side of the range. A built-in paper towel holder in the island helps keep the space clutter-free.

The island provides a “friendly barrier” from the workspace. It’s outfitted with a five-centimeter-thick slab of Valley Gold Vein, a domestically sourced marble, and a deep island sink for food prep. For the surrounding countertops, Kathleen chose Cambria quartz in Devon. A Carrera marble backsplash in oversized subway tiles lines the wall of the workspace, while a charming basket-weave variation lends character to the clean-up area.

Adjacent to the island, a beverage station/entertainment area provides easy access to drinks and a view of the flat-screen TV. The area is perfect for Bryan, who, according to Kathleen, enjoys the variety of utilizing a whole range of coffee-making devices—from an espresso maker to a standard percolator.

The room’s clean whites and grays pair perfectly with the elegant, warm, wide-plank American walnut hardwood floors. The corner of the kitchen features a round table with seating and tall windows that bathe the entire space in light. Cheery yellow window panels inject energy into the space and provided design inspiration for the entire room, according to Heisler.

“Everything came together around this beautiful fabric,” says Heisler. “Kathleen always explored her options, but she knew right away what she liked or didn’t. She was really terrific that way.”

Now beginning to settle into their new space, the family is looking forward to the holidays. “I can’t wait for the holidays—to have everyone here milling around and a big turkey in that oven.”