Rich Wood Accents Take Center Stage In This Coastal Kitchen


Court Atkins Group Design Director Deborah Van Plew worked with Element Construction to create this natural wood-inspired Bluffton, South Carolina, kitchen. The walnut cabinetry is by Rutt Handcrafted Cabinetry from Palmetto Cabinet Studio. Swaim stools pull up to the island across from a Wolf range, while the side countertops are in Fresh Concrete by Caesarstone.

Deborah Van Plew, design director for Court Atkins Group, offers a different perspective on the coastal kitchen for a vacation home in Bluffton, South Carolina. While still light and bright, the design nixed a traditional white color scheme in favor of beautiful walnut surfaces and dynamic stone accents.

What elements did you start with? The owner loves green, so the Blue Tides marble appealed to her right off the bat. We started with this material using it on the waterfall island and the full-height backsplashes. From there, the walnut cabinetry offered a warm, organic factor providing just the right complement to the busy stone. The wood really enhances its beautiful green tones.

The design is so seamless. There are a lot of intersecting lines here. Instead of hardware, we went for a clean, streamlined aesthetic, but that meant there was no wiggle room for elements to be off by an inch or two; everything had to align perfectly. We also thought about scale. It was important to carry vertical surfaces like the wood cabinetry to the ceiling for everything to feel integrated and connected.

Where are the appliances? The kitchen faces a large great room. I didn’t want anyone to feel as though they were constantly looking into a kitchen but rather just another living area, so we created a galley behind the range. That’s where we tucked all the things you really have to use on a daily basis, including several appliances.


Ashley Norton hardware decorates the galley kitchen featuring Miele and Bosch appliances. Eureka Lighting illuminates from above.