A Kitchen With Space and Storage to Keep Up With a Growing Family

When clients hire Sarah Robertson to design a kitchen, they usually give her a short list of requirements and then ask her what she would do with the space. But the young couple who hired her to remodel their 1980s-era kitchen knew exactly what they wanted, right down to the island cooktop, undersink drawers, and shiplap siding on the island and cabinets.

Before Photo, original photo on Houzz


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Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here:
 A couple (she’s the owner of a business that develops healthy organic snacks for kids; he’s in finance), their 2-year-old daughter and a baby on the way
Location: Sleepy Hollow, New York
Size: 430 square feet (39.9 square meters)
Designer: Sarah Robertson of Studio Dearborn

BEFORE: The kitchen was a “classic late-’80s peninsula kitchen,” Robertson says. The clients wanted something that felt bright, light and contemporary.


Adam Kane Macchia, original photo on Houzz


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AFTER: The couple wanted a cooktop on the island so that the mom could keep an eye on the 2-year-old (and eventually the baby who’s on the way) while she’s cooking, but they didn’t want a range hood hanging down over the cooktop. “It’s an unusual setup for an American kitchen, but you see it in Europe all the time,” Robertson says. “It’s definitely becoming a trend in American kitchens now.” The ceiling vent with fan takes care of smoke and odors, and gives a clean sightline across the kitchen. “It keeps the whole space open,” Robertson says.

The next challenge was finding a piece of stone for the kitchen island. The original design called for the island to be 125 inches long. Stone slabs tend to max out at 110 to 120 inches, Robertson says, and the clients didn’t want to have to use two pieces. They decided to shave a few inches off the length of the island. Robertson found the slab of Alpine Mist white marble, a stone she describes as a little cleaner and whiter than Carrara, at a perfect 116 inches long.

Vent: Sirius

The homeowners weren’t big fans of backsplashes, and they spent hours with Robertson looking at “a million different tiles,” she says. But when the couple saw the pale blue ceramic tile by Waterworks, “she was sold,” Robertson says.

The husband exhaustively researched cooktops, choosing a Gaggenau model because he felt that it would be the most flush with the countertop. Robertson replaced the window over the sink with a slightly larger one to let in more light.

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Adam Kane Macchia, original photo on Houzz


The island is made of rift oak, cut to reveal a very fine parallel grain that provides a clean look. A white glaze lightens the gray stain on the oak.

The shiplap siding on the island is a detail the clients knew they wanted from the beginning. Shiplap also covers the sides of the painted cabinets and the fridge.

Wine fridge: Sub-Zero


Adam Kane Macchia, original photo on Houzz


A storage wall was another must for the homeowners. The original design called for vertical storage for trays above the ovens (a steam oven on the top and a wall oven on the bottom), but the clients liked the look of bookshelves, so Robertson moved the tray storage to the top cabinet to the right of the oven wall.


Adam Kane Macchia, original photo on Houzz


A space for a beloved espresso maker was a top priority for the husband. Robertson and the clients went back and forth over the size of the fridge and freezer to ensure sufficient counter space for the espresso machine. Drawers below the machine hold everything needed to make a high-quality cup of joe in the morning.

The client loved the clean-lined look of drawers instead of cabinets under the kitchen sink. Designing undersink drawers is difficult, Robertson says, and requires extensive measurements and “a dedicated installer who’s on board with the importance of making it work.”

Both drawers are configured to work around the disposal and plumbing pipes. Drawers offer less space than undersink cabinets, “but the storage space you do have is really accessible,” Robertson says.

Sink: Kohler; faucet: Rohl


Adam Kane Macchia, original photo on Houzz


Pullouts on both sides of the cooktop provide space for storing oils on one side and utensils on the other.

The kitchen hardware is white bronze, which is bronze “with a patina to make it look like polished nickel, but with a lot more character,” Robertson says.

Hardware: Schaub & Co.


Adam Kane Macchia, original photo on Houzz


Big drawers below the cooktop offer room for pots and pans. The top drawer includes diagonal lid dividers, a feature Robertson developed when she found that vertical dividers often didn’t provide enough space for large lids. The slanted shelves are adjustable and removable.


Adam Kane Macchia, original photo on Houzz


This plan shows the roomy layout of the new kitchen and its numerous cabinets. 

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