Maryland-Flavored Mural Spices Up Annapolis Kitchen


June 16, 1996|By Beth Smith

When tile painter Claudia Chappel first met clients Gene and Pam Piscitelli, she quickly realized that they had a very special project in mind for her. Lovers of art and color, the couple wanted a large hand-painted mural for the kitchen of their Annapolis home.

Unsatisfied with standard painted tiles, they had been directed to Chappel by the owner of Annapolis Accents, a store specializing in tiles and upscale kitchen and bath hardware. The Piscitellis drove to Baltimore, sat down with the painter, looked at her samples, and tried to explain what they wanted.

At the end of the conversation, Chappel wasn't exactly sure of the mural theme. But she knew that whatever she painted for the Piscitellis had to be unique. Although she doesn't usually visit clients' homes, she decided she had to make an exception this time.

The kitchen was undergoing renovation -- for the second time.

"When we bought the house 11 years ago, our first renovation was to turn the oversize garage into a kitchen and sewing room," says Gene Piscitelli, an Annapolis businessman and amateur builder.

Two years ago, the Piscitellis realized that the kitchen wasn't working. "The room was too dark and really too small for the size of the house," Gene Piscitelli says.

A new room was created by kitchen designer Mark White, with help from Gene Piscitelli. The sleek, contemporary room has high-gloss Neff Cabinets, a ceramic tile floor, granite counters, a 12-foot-long island with eating space for six, and a handsome ceiling light fixture, designed by Gene Piscitelli. Claudia Chappel's mural was to be a backdrop for the new St. George range, an import from Australia.

"I arrived at the Piscitelli home and both Pam and Gene were barefooted, so I kicked off my shoes, and we all sat down to talk about the mural," Chappel remembers with a laugh.

As the couple expressed ideas for the mural, Chappel sketched. At the end of an hour, the homeowners looked at the drawing. Instead of the Mexican marketplace they had somewhat envisioned, Chappel had given them a Maryland marketplace, complete with a little market cart they had mentioned, a bushel of steamed crabs and a bouquet of black-eyed Susans. The Piscitellis were delighted.

Today, the 60-by-24-inch mural is a focal point in the kitchen. Not only eye-catching, it warms up and makes user-friendly a very contemporary work space. "When I first talked to the Piscitellis, I knew I would have to paint a mural that was whimsical, interesting and fun," says Chappel. And that is what she did.

Pub Date: 6/16/96

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