The kitchen in this 1920s Tudor home was dark (it only had one window) and cramped when Sarah Robertson of Studio Dearborn was brought in to give it new life. She and the homeowner, who have been friends for more than 20 years, wanted to stay true to the style of the home while bringing in modern and personal touches.
The homeowners wanted to open up the kitchen, bring in more light, and add storage to feature the homeowner’s antique china, kitchenware, and small appliances.
The homeowner loves color but wanted the kitchen to tie into the rest of the home. The jumping-off point was the Phillip Jefferies wallpaper in the banquette area. It reminded the homeowner of a Willow tree she used to play under with her children when they were young. That sparked the idea to use blue in the kitchen, which you can see in the built-in china cabinet. “The blue was really the perfect hue and helped us to decide the color palette for the rest of the space,” says Sarah Robertson. “We never considered another wallpaper!”
To add to the Tudor character, Robertson chose a mix of different types of brass hardware, including knobs, pulls, and brass turned legs on the island. Robertson also found a local light fabricator to make midcentury Holophane lights and have sconces custom-made to match.
To let in more light, the team added a large bank of windows that overlooks the backyard. They also added custom-made stained-glass windows, which Robertson and the homeowner chose the panes for, that flank the stone hood and range.
To make the space larger, they merged the existing kitchen with an adjacent bedroom and bath from the original maid’s quarters. This allowed them to add a wet bar that also features a few unique touches: a freezer drawer for ice cream and liquor, storage for all of the homeowner’s teapot collection and special teas, and even a spot for the dogs’ food and pull-out food and water dishes.
Storage abounds in the island and surrounding cabinets as well. There are drawers specifically for Tupperware, pots and pans, dishware, knives, and drawers with mesh inserts to keep potatoes and onions fresh.
There is also a pullout for oils and vinegars and sheet pans right next to the range for easy preparation. Finally, the china cabinet holds not only the homeowner’s serving pieces but also two docking drawers with outlets and plenty of space for overflow items like pens, notepads, cords, and more. The result is eclectic, functional, and unique — just what the homeowner ordered.
Designer: Sarah Robertson, Studio Dearborn
Architect: Brad DeMotte, DeMotte Architects
Contractor: Steve Moliterno, MJS Contracting Group.
Traditional With a Twist
For this project in Chappaqua, architect Daniel Contelmo was tasked with creating the client’s design vision, which is transitional with some coastal elements. This kitchen remodel was part of a bigger project, but the client wanted the kitchen to be the focal point, offering up a layout that made sense and provided ample seating and space for prep.
“I found the client to be very focused and decisive, with a keen eye for design,” says Contelmo. “She had a detailed list of what she wanted in her renovation. She shared the colors and finishes she wanted and left us with the task of creating a unique and sensible layout.”
The outside wall of the kitchen was bumped out by four feet, and a family room wall was removed to create better flow. The essence of this project revolves around the center island and seating, which was designed in a creative way to allow for everything the client wanted: “adequate seating for their family to eat meals but also a gathering space for entertaining family and friends,” says Contelmo. “These uses needed to be adjacent but separated.”
The large island, which measures 10′ × 12′, and banquette do that beautifully and can seat 10 comfortably. The working space of the kitchen is shaped like an L, which creates two areas, one for preparation and one for eating. “The challenge was to create a multifunctional space that included meal prep, cleanup, family dining, and guest seating/bar area all in one,” says Contelmo.
The banquette is Contelmo’s favorite part because it has bench-type seating for children and easy access, as well as chairs for adults.
The clients also wanted to have bar-type seating for entertaining. To add this, there is a bar area opposite the island, separated by ample entertaining space.
Minimal Midcentury Modern
This project was a gut renovation and addition to an existing split-level ranch house in Mamaroneck that hadn’t been updated since the 1950s (think shag carpet and funky wallpaper). The new homeowners, who were moving from down the street, loved the community but wanted their forever home. They hired Hope Scully of HHS Interior Design Associates, who wanted to maximize the water views and fill the space with light. The homeowners wanted an airy, modern feel with personality.
“The kitchen carried a theme from the rest of the house where we used light wood throughout the public spaces,” says Scully. “This kitchen is a mix of minimalist midcentury modern with a twist of eclectic.”
As with all renos, this one came with its own set of challenges. One whole side of the room is sliding glass doors facing the backyard, so nothing could be put against them. The 10-foot island could have been larger, but the team was limited on slab sizes for the counter. Finally, there was a question of how high the cabinets should go given the tall ceilings. “They are high and some-what inaccessible, but we decided it was worth it to give that ‘wrapped’ feeling around the cooking area,” says Scully. This also offers up more storage, which is always a plus.
The light fixtures needed to be fun and functional but also not block the view of the backyard. “We experimented with a few of these Katy Skelton fixtures over the island, but in the end felt one was enough to have visual impact without overwhelming the space,” says Scully. “The small pendant over the dining table connects with the cabinets and adds another element of fun.”
And this designer is not afraid to mix metals. “There’s an authenticity about it that makes it feel more collected and unique,” says Scully. “There are a lot of metals needed in kitchen: appliances, sinks, faucets, lighting, and hardware. If everything matches, it looks static and flat.”
She adds that it is also almost impossible to match finishes within different brands. “It looks terrible when you try to match and miss,” she adds. “I generally keep the sink/faucet and hardware in the silver family and use more organic metals in the lighting and furniture, as seen here.”
Scully’s favorite part of the kitchen is the backsplash tile (clé zellige) and the glass cabinet doors around the range. “The tile has a subtle iridescence, and the glass doors shimmer slightly, both of which loosely evoke seashells.” This nods to the seaside location but is not overly beachy. “We were originally planning to do painted white doors, to break up all the wood, but the owner cleverly found a brochure lying around the cabinet suppliers’ office, showing these doors,” says Scully. “A proper mix of glossy and matte surfaces and different metal finishes gives that cohesive balance.”
Designer: Hope Scully, HHS Interior Design Associates
Architect: Richard F. Hein, RFH Design
Contractor: John Poniros
Kitchen Cabinets: Alba Kitchen and Bath
This home, owned and designed by designer Megan Oldenburger of Dichotomy Interiors, had not been remodeled since the 1980s. Part of a larger, whole-home reno, Oldenburger had a smaller budget and was designing for herself, something that came as a challenge. “As a designer, I’m used to working with larger budgets, and I can’t afford to spend as much on my own home, so this was a big challenge for me,” says Oldenburger. “I had to push myself to spend extra on things that I knew I would regret being frugal on.”
The handmade zellige kitchen tile was used on the entire vaulted wall, so it was not only a splurge on materials but on labor costs as well. In addition to the tiles, the design also includes a mix of other natural materials, including white-oak cabinetry, natural honed marble, and black oak.
Her top priorities for the kitchen were to have a functional but beautiful space that she wanted to spend a lot of time in. “My second-favorite passion is cooking,” says Oldenburger. “I spend so much time in my kitchen, I wanted to be surrounded by a very warm but sophisticated flavor. I wanted a space that felt cozy, with mood lighting and texture, but it still needed a good flow and function that was perfect for guests to gather in.”
For even more functionality, she added a beverage/bar area and plenty of seating both at the counter and around a table. “I wanted to incorporate a bar area with a secondary fridge because even though the home has an attractive open floor plan, everyone still gathers in the kitchen!” she says.
Design details abound, including open shelves and one of Oldenburger’s favorite parts of the kitchen, the custom-designed hood. “I love having open shelves in the kitchen because of the convenience to grab things, and allowing guests to know where things are, but also because it is another space for me to style and helps the kitchen feel warmer,” says Oldenburger. “I designed the hood myself and had it custom made, to create a very dramatic shape you see when you come into the house and look down the hall into the kitchen.”
She used horizontal tongue-and-groove lines to break up the height of the ceilings. She painted it in a soft, almost black, to keep the design warm.
This remodel in Rye Brook started as a dark, traditional kitchen and ended as a glamorous and airy design thanks to designer Debra Funt of Debra Funt Interiors.
Designed for a family of five with extended family, the kitchen needed to service their day-to-day while lending itself to entertaining. “The previous kitchen was dated and lacked the type of storage the family needed now, with teen- and college-aged girls who spend time in the kitchen, cooking and baking together,” says Funt. To help with storage, Funt added floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and pantries.
And as far as style, the designer had a very specific idea in mind and delivered. “I wanted the kitchen to feel open, spacious, and glamorous, like a Parisian patisserie,” says Funt. “The house is a modern Colonial, so I designed the cabinetry to pay homage to its traditional roots, but there is nothing traditional about the finished look.” The team started with the floor, choosing a custom pale stain that brightens up the room.
The kitchen can be accessed by four different entrances, so Funt wanted something special to hit you from each entrance. She chose the range with a hood trimmed with a gold-metal band and the backsplash, which she says “looks like gold armor” and are showstoppers.
The Midas touch continues with gold light fixtures and hardware that Funt calls “fashion accessories or jewelry.”
Mirrors were added to the tops of the cabinets, to add a bit more glam and set this white kitchen apart from the rest.
For seating, Funt removed a banquet that made the eating area cramped and repurposed the space with a table that can easily seat six to eight. The light fixture from Slamp is abstract and transparent and floats above the table. Then there is the statement piece of art. “We all fell in love with the Marilyn collage in a Madison Avenue gallery,” says Funt. “It so represents the clients and their children and is a perfect conversation piece for guests.” The final design is sophisticated, functional, and a well-dressed kitchen.
Designer: Debra Funt, Debra Funt Interiors
Construction: Bare Renovations