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Washington Business Journal talks with McWilliams|Ballard about luxury kitchens

Meet the most expensive luxury kitchens of Greater Washington

Washington Business Journal | Washington, DC | February 17, 2023


If you’re wondering what really sets Greater Washington’s luxury homes apart from the rest, forget the waterfront views, theater rooms and basketball courts — it’s really about the kitchen.


We spoke with nine D.C.-area real estate professionals, and one thing on which they all agree is that wealthy homebuyers have some very upscale demands for their culinary nerve centers, both aesthetically and practically. That’s especially true since 2020, when we started spending more time in our kitchens, and homes in general, than ever before.


Now many are taking the leap to secure the kitchen of their dreams, one that’s ideal for entertaining — a.k.a., as large as an apartment itself. Here’s what that means for the most luxurious homes on the market, according to listing agents on the front line.


The experts:


    • Chris Masters, partner with McWilliams|Ballard
    • Rory Coakley, president of Coakley Realty
    • Sherri Anne Greene, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty in D.C.
    • Robert Hryniewicki, partner at HRL Partners of Washington Fine Properties
    • Gary Jankowski, of the Gary & Michael Team at Coldwell Banker Realty in the Mid-Atlantic
    • Bryan Kerrigan, principal premier agent at Redfin
    • Justin Levitch, president of RLAH Properties
    • Lindsay Lucas, senior vice president at Compass
    • Stacy Rodgers, luxury collection specialist at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty

The Look


What’s out: All-white, colorless kitchens

What’s in: Natural woods and colors, spacious and open to a den, hidden cabinets


All our experts agreed that kitchens built for entertaining are key, which also means not being walled off from your guests or family. The ideal space includes:

    • High ceilings
    • Two large islands with attractive stone countertops
    • Seating and casual eating area
    • Paneled appliances integrated into the walls
    • Large pantry with its own food prep space
    • Adjoining lounge area

“Most importantly, all this space would have a wall of windows/doors overlooking the terrace, rear garden and swimming pool all on the same level,” Robert Hryniewicki said.


“I toured a home recently where the wall behind the appliances and sink was flat, if you will, and adorned with custom narrow vertical wood panels, no hinges, no knobs, no pulls, no cabinets or at first glance that is what you thought. Just this beautiful wall of wood with art pieces smartly centered on the wall. The wood mimicked the hardwoods on the floor. At a quick glance it made one wonder where the homeowner stored their plates, glassware, and the like. But a gentle push of one of the custom panels revealed completely recessed cabinets along the entire flat wall. The luxury was truly in creating such an open and different sight line and airiness to the kitchen that those with open cluttered shelves, or big bulky cabinets can’t create.”


— Sherri Anne Greene, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Realty


Go, Go Gadgets

What’s out: Just one dishwasher

What’s in: Induction stoves, smart appliances, wine fridges and crushed ice makers.


The hottest appliances and gadgets range from built-in espresso machines to under-counter drawers containing hidden dishwashers. And what with the raging political debate over gas stoves, electric induction stoves are gaining popularity.


Lindsay Lucas offered the pro tip of using a magnet to see if your cookware is induction-compatible. “If it is strongly attracted to the pot or pan, you are good to go,” she said.


Also, don’t forget the heated porcelain tile floors for your delicate feet.


Sherri Anne Green emphasized having multiple dishwashers as a popular feature: “A larger main dishwasher and then smaller dishwasher drawers in the island or cocktail bar area truly make living and cleaning up a breeze.” But appearance isn’t the only priority now, Lucas said, as more buyers also demand energy-efficient, “smart” appliances with Wi-Fi.

Chris Masters, Stacy Rodgers and Bryan Kerrigan all mentioned ice makers — gourmet, crushed or nugget — as among the No. 1 kitchen requests of the day.

Fancy ice is so hot right now.


Peak Decadence

Hryniewicki’s most luxurious kitchen ever sold was actually two “enormous” kitchens, in a $11.5 million Wesley Heights home. One was the “hangout kitchen,” adjoining the family room and overlooking a garden. The other, a floor below, was the “chef’s kitchen,” where a hired chef prepared all the family meals.

Rodgers was impressed by something a bit smaller: “I think the one feature that really stuck with me was an indoor under-counter herb-growing cabinet that had an automatic watering system.”

“A full-size wine fridge is the most extravagant kitchen feature I’ve seen recently. It’s a statement and makes you think you’re in for a wine-pairing experience at dinner,” said Justin Levitch. And then there’s the atmosphere, he added, with special lighting, including task, under-cabinet and even at the toe-kick for free-standing islands or cabinets.

Ironically, I suspect that many of the most extravagant, over-the-top kitchens that I’ve seen are rarely used.”

— Gary Jankowski, of the Gary & Michael Team at Coldwell Banker Realty Mid-Atlantic

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