Wide open, warm and welcoming, a kitchen is designed for comfort and serious cooking.By Rob Duca | Photography by Dan Cutrona
For the homeowners of this spectacularly located property on the water in Hingham, Massachusetts, it made little sense to build their dream home without designing a kitchen that was fully functional and inviting, and one that maximized the eye-popping views right outside their window.
The family was going back to the future by returning to the neighborhood where the wife, Kerry Connolly, had grown up. In order to create a timeless space that would accommodate the couple’s constantly changing schedules and hectic lifestyle, they turned to Roomscapes Luxury Design Center of Rockland, Massachusetts.
“Kerry wanted to create an environment where the family could recharge at the end of a busy day,” says Mercedes B. Aza, vice-president of Roomscapes. “Because the home is close to their extended family, frequent visitors were expected, along with old neighbors and new friends.”
The centerpiece of the project was the kitchen, which would serve as the gathering space for family meals and entertaining. There was little question that the kitchen would be utilized by both Kerry, an avid cook, and her sister, a professional chef.
Designer Julie Lyons was assigned the task of creating an open space in what initially was just a long room intended to house a full kitchen, a pantry, a family area and a spot for casual dining. “Apart from the formal dining room and a mudroom/office, this area constituted the entire first floor,” Aza says. “All the parties were absolutely going to take place in the kitchen.”
Therefore, it was essential that the kitchen reflect a sense of openness and comfort, while at the same time feature details that would define separate spaces in a sophisticated and welcoming manner. But there were challenges inherent in incorporating a professional grade kitchen into the middle of the home’s main family and entertaining area. First, the homeowner had selected a 15-foot expanse of windows to bring in the water views, leaving limited exterior wall space for cabinets and storage. A second challenge was creating a sense of the separate spaces.
In order to meet the first challenge, a pantry area was transformed into a fully functioning prep and breakfast space, something akin to a mini-kitchen. The space includes a full-size refrigerator, a coffee and toaster station and a microwave. It also serves as the principle area for all prep work, freeing up the main kitchen for guests to socialize and mingle.
Storage and cabinet spaces were designed by paneling as many appliances as possible. Custom-designed columns were installed on a refrigerator and freezer and were combined with cabinetry to create a furniture wall. “Flanked by two tall pantry cabinets, the refrigeration towers are hidden by one column at each end that creates this wall,” Aza says.
A pair of hutch cabinets house dishes and cutlery, and an 11-foot island includes an induction cook top over a 30-inch single oven. A steam oven to the right of the main oven provides a flexible cooking space, while a warming drawer installed opposite the ovens matches the adjacent cabinetry. A two-inch Carrara marble countertop and a wood-top island elevate the visual weight of both stations, allowing the kitchen to blend seamlessly into the expansive space. In order to meet the homeowner’s entertaining needs, a dry bar with wine storage and icemaker was squeezed into a recess that is opposite the family room.
“The cabinets are a combination of overlay and inset door styles that help define the transitional appeal,” Aza says. “Door-style detailing is kept simple. The goal was to create a balance between weight and scale. The decision was also made to use subtle colors at the furniture/refrigeration wall and to match those to the pantry for continuity.”
The kitchen décor is splashed in white, soft blue and light gray tones that bring the water into focus. Instead of chrome hardware, the use of brass and gold fixtures reflects one of today’s emerging trends. In order to separate the various spaces, a soffit was installed over the island, clearly defining the kitchen, while the furniture wall defines the eating area.
The final touch was selecting Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, which reflect the desired aesthetic quality of the kitchen. The 30-inch columns around the refrigerator maintain an attractive furniture appearance, while the low profile of the induction cooktop provides the opportunity to further de-emphasize the appliances.
“Many times Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances are a nice addition to a kitchen, but this kitchen could not have been designed as it is without them,” Aza says. “This seamless and subtle combination would not have been possible. In the end, the beaded detail at the furniture wall and the columns flanking the window, the raised height details above the cabinetry, the subtle colors, the presence of a single oven onto the island instead of a highly visible oven tower, and the use of the pantry as a prep area all work in concert to turn a wide-open space into a warm and welcoming family place.”