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  • Writer's pictureDann Foley

Before & After: New Jersey Kitchen

May 22, 2013

Kitchens are a big investment of money and sweat and tears and desires and needs.  They are the type of design that is supposed to be lasting.  By most industry standards a kitchen design should last 15 years or more.  In real life they last more along the lines of 25 years (allowing for occasional appliance replacement).  A kitchen is the most expensive space in your home as well.  The cost of cabinetry, counters and appliances are through the roof so, making the right decisions about each element is crucial.  This is why so many people are scared to make a choice, for fear that it might be the wrong one.

In this case we not only had a horribly dated kitchen but it also had bad materials, inappropriate appliances, a lack of storage and 7″-6″ ceilings.  Add to that the structural beam that ran across the middle of the ceiling and you end up with one ugly kitchen! What to do!?

First things first.  The client wanted a kitchen in keeping with the 100 year old house, not a vintage kitchen per say, but one that looked like it belonged.  The kitchen is situated in the middle of the house, literally.  It is at the cross roads of all of the first floor public rooms, it needed to be both formal enough for the house and functional enough for a busy family who likes to cook!

I needed to deal with the structural beam and we knew we could not get it up any higher in the ceiling.  The answer was simple; create a coffered ceiling incorporating the existing beam.  A second cross beam was added and then two more running in the opposite direction at a slightly higher height.  The effect was warmth without visually lowering the ceiling!  It also allowed me to run some needed wiring for the new lighting over the island.

The cabinets, we decided needed to be in the same style as the existing cabinetry which were original to the house.  The finish was to match the original cabinets but without the orange hue that the aged cabinets were now throwing off and discoloring the entire room.  We were actually able to locate the same exact style of hinges for the new varied doors, as well as new pulls and handles for everywhere in the kitchen.

I then decided, to add more depth and richness to the overall look, I introduced an additional door style and finish for the island and for what we had dubbed, “The Coffee Armoire”.  The additional finish is ebony with a red undercoat to contrast the warm wood tone of the rest of the cabinets.  The island was made to further make a statement by using handmade tiles with an aged aqua finish for the counter and a large custom double bull nose edge in the same finish.  The perimeter counters are honed black absolute granite.

To finish the look, the kitchens two sinks and range hood are custom made of hand hammered copper. The backsplash is mixed glass in black, milk and russet.  The refrigerator, freezer and two dishwashers are fully integrated so that they are unrecognizable as appliances and as such, help to further the effect of the kitchen being a part of the old house.  The 60″ range is a custom colored Viking professional stove.  The microwave is out-of-sight, hidden in the side of the island with a drawer opening, instead of the standard swinging door.  A 36″ flat screen tv is also hidden in the coffee armoire which has return doors so that they do not get in the way.

Every square inch of this kitchen was considered and used in the planning.  A low ceiling cuts down on storage considerably, as well as unforeseen issues, like hiding the exhaust duct work.  The finished product is a world class kitchen with all the modern, luxury amenities that fits seamlessly into the charming and beautiful old home.

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