Designing A True Family Kitchen

A dark and dysfunctional kitchen gets a major overhaul—and the results are stunning.

A dysfunctional and dark kitchen in a Harrison home gets a major overhaul. The end result is beautiful, modern, and something everyone in the family can—and wants to— use.

The home’s existing kitchen didn’t function the way the homeowner wanted. It was dark due to its orientation, limited windows, and low ceilings.

The homeowner, Michelle Kroin, wanted it to have a very clean and modern feel with a lot of soul. She also wanted it to have a place where her family could hang out.

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Working with Carol Kurth Architecture, PC + Carol Kurth Interiors; Bilotta Kitchens senior designer Jeff Eakley; and Legacy Development Northeast, Kroin got a kitchen that focuses on her family’s needs, has a lot of seating, and is functional. It even has a place to charge all of the family’s devices without exposed wires and plugs.

“My style is basically clean, comfortable, and livable. I really loved mixing textures to accomplish this feel,” Kroin says about her remodel.

Left: This kitchen offers plenty of seating, counterspace, and storage. Right: The Wolf range is perfect for someone who loves to cook; creative storage solutions are sprinkled throughout.

After the team determined the new layout and plans, the first big thing they needed to tackle was the floor, which they discovered was uneven under the island and would not support the weight of a newer, larger island. To remedy the problem, the old, dark wood floor was ripped up and new joists and beams were installed. Rather than wood floors, the homeowner and designer chose bleached faux bois porcelain plank tiles, which is now a main talking point. “The tile harmonizes with the upper cabinetry and brightens the entire space, plus cleanup is a breeze,” says Carol Kurth. “All of the materials and finishes we selected work with the floor.”

Next, the team chose the countertops and cabinet finishes, which both make use of various materials. “Our team imagined a modern industrial backdrop with layers of steel detailing, cerused gray oak, concrete, cork, and reclaimed brick detailing,” Kurth says. The palette consists of raw, natural materials like brick, steel, wood, and hewn timbers, which contrast with the glossy finishes of the cabinetry.

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Left: The kids’ artwork is proudly displayed. Right: This large apron sink set in the main island makes clean-up a breeze.

The cereal dispensers are a favorite of the kids

The Details

The team paid attention to every last detail, including the cords for all screen devices. Everyone agreed that the workspace with hid- den cord storage for computers and mobile devices was a clever use of the raised island. This area not only looks beautiful, but it is the spot for the kids to sit and do their homework, and it is a bonus for entertaining and extra seating. But the favorite items in the kitchen, per Kroin’s kids, are the cereal dispensers; her children use them every morning. Another neat detail is the deep drawers with shallow stor- age, which hold pantry essentials like colorful pasta, bendy straws, and Hershey’s Kisses—a must when you have little ones.

Family Art

The candy isn’t the only fun thing for the kids. Corkboards on the brick wall above the kitchen table and banquette show off artwork, family photos, schedules, and more. It is an ever-changing array of art that the family can customize, making the kitchen feel even more warm and inviting.

Texture and Materials

Layered and contrasting materials are key to this design. Wood beams were added to the ceiling to give the room a warmer look and feel.

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Though the exposed brick looks original to the house, it was also an add on. “The brick and beams were added to soften the space, yet they look like they were always there,” says Jeff Eakley. “It really [gives] it old world charm even with the mix of high gloss cabinets.”

And the kitchen has not one type of cabinet but three. “The biggest challenge was working with the three different cabinet materials for one cohesive design and coordinating all of the finishes,” says Eakley. “We mixed transitional cabinetry with contemporary cabinetry in a very traditional home. I was very happy with how it all came together.”

Shaker style cabinets in a custom finish white ash surround the bottom of the prep sink and stove and surround the Sub- Zero refrigerator. The island is made up of flat-panel cabinets in high-gloss anthracite lacquer, and the cabinets to the right of the stove are flat-panel laminate cabinets in figured pearl gloss. Open glass shelves with reclaimed wood supports were added to display more decorative pieces. All of the materials come together to create a look that is sleek and unique.


The concrete and wood countertops are “very durable countertops with many coats of sealer. We were looking for a bar-like finish,” Kurth says. “[It] also added texture as well as creating a ‘soft’ surface in the layers of smooth stone and cabinetry.” The concrete adds a sophisticated industrial component while complementing the wood countertop and con- tributes to the overall layered look of the materials.

To Splurge or Not to Splurge

Carol Kurth and Jeff Eakley share what to spend top dollar on and where to save in the kitchen.

DO: “Splurge on architectural character like feature walls, cool lighting, favorite must-have gad- gets, and built-in appliances— especially the refrigerator,” Kurth says. “A built-in refrigerator is crucial. It can make or break the entire design.”

“Splurge on what is important to you,” says Eakley. “If you are a chef, splurge on appliances, if organization is more important to you make sure the cabinetry is designed with plenty of storage.”

DON’T: Splurge on the back- splash. “There are so many options at so many price points, there is always a way to make one work that will look great,” Kurth says. Bring samples home to experiment with and live with for a few days.”

Give upon quality to meet your budget. “There are so many options for all of the different components for the kitchen that you can really find anything to meet your budget,” says Eakley. “From cabinetry to tile to hardware to appliances, you don’t have to sacrifice quality just to meet your budget. It’s a great reason to work with an expert in kitchen design because we lay out different “packages” for you to select from.”

Sources to Know

Get a similar look in your home by shopping these products used by the professionals.

Kitchen Table

Candlewood Valley Building

458 Danbury Rd Bldg A6
New Milford, CT
(203) 775-9244


  • Rift white ash with a custom finish, Shaker style, 1 inch thick
  • Artcraft flat-panel laminate in figured pearl gloss
  • Artcraft flat-panel in high-gloss anthracite lacquer

Bilotta Kitchens
564 Mamaroneck Ave Mamaroneck (914) 381-7734


Concrete and premium wide-plank, rift-cut white oak, marine oil finish, hand rubbed

Brooks Custom
15 Kensico Dr Mount Kisco (800) 244-5432


Leiberts Appliance Center

228 E Post Rd White Plains (914) 949-5999



(800) 637-6485

Main Sink


369 Lexington Ave Mount Kisco (914) 666-5127 

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