The chef’s grade range is hidden in an alcove off to one side; custom built shelves overhead show off the homeowner’s extensive spice collection.

As is so often the case, long-time summer residents realize how wonderful their seasonal homes are and decide to turn them into a permanent residence. This was true for Marci, who after years of living in Savannah, Georgia, and vacationing in Rhode Island’s South County, decided to move full-time into her summer residence with her husband, Peter.“We have been coming up here every summer for 25 years as we are originally from here,” says Marci. “When we bought the house in 2006 it was a summer house and the kitchen didn’t really matter. But when my kids went off to school we decided to settle in Rhode Island and had to get rid of the plywood kitchen.”

A new kitchen in a new space

While the simple kitchen was great for prepping barbecues and easy meals for family and friends during hot summer days, Marci, an avid cook, needed much more out of the space once they decided to make their Rhode Island residence permanent. She worked with Jane Anderson, owner of Apex Kitchens & Baths, to design an easily accessible kitchen that overlooked the living room and Narragansett Bay so she could chat with guests while she cooks.

“The kitchen isn’t even in the same location as it was before,” says Marci. “We actually opened up walls and made a great room with the living room and kitchen to be a family friendly space.” While Marci admits the flow of their former summer home has changed greatly, it is all for the better. “It was nice to do the renovations because I had a big blank slate,” says Marci, who opted for a 48-inch Sub-Zero refrigerator hidden behind built-ins, a 36-inch commercial-grade Wolf range and a microwave that doubles as a convection oven. “I worked in design for a long time and I knew exactly what I wanted, but working with Jane was so helpful,” says Marci. She had the opportunity to add a lot of storage space in the house and worked closely with Anderson to plan for it.


Stylish and accessible storage was a must; designer Jane Anderson suggested these a medium-density fiberboard cabinets that look just like painted wood, but don’t shrink or expand in the humidity.

“Marci knew what she wanted and thought out every square foot in detail. She was great to work with because she got the whole picture and knew the process,” says Anderson.  While Marci had an idea of what she wanted for the details, such as a hidden, but accessible place for paper towels (her husband’s sole request). Anderson offered the homeowner options she hadn’t considered. One of these options was a medium density fiberboard for the cabinets that looks just like painted wood, but doesn’t shrink or expand in the humidity like its natural counterpart. The duo also turned a small closet tucked under the stairs near the kitchen into a bar, with a mini fridge, mirrored walls, glasses, and wine racks. And most importantly for Marci was an accessible place for her platters. Anderson added tray divider slots so they would stand on end and then cabinets with three shelves for more space.

Topping it all off

One of Marci’s favorite parts of the kitchen is the seven-foot-by-five-foot island, topped with Bianco Venato honed marble from Bill Place of Quality Tile. The countertop isn’t interrupted by a sink or stove and offers plenty of space to prep a meal or lay out a buffet for a larger group of people. “It was a truly beautiful piece of marble,” says Pace. “We worked with the customer to lay out the template on slabs and she chose the overall pattern and layout. We sealed it with a 15-year warranty stain prevention sealer as well. We also did the full slab backsplash in matching marble, and the dry bar and fireplace in Costa Esmeralda leather textured granite, which is very suitable to waterfront living.”  Two stools concealed beneath the countertop can be pulled out for an intimate and casual meal. Marci purchased a four-foot wide laundry sink for the kitchen; it allows her to cook for two or 20, and can accommodate lobster pots during the summer months. She also included a coffee station, hidden behind closed doors, that can be pulled out for guests in the morning and easily put away. Because she wanted dried herbs and spices at her fingertips when cooking, Marci opted to have shelves built around her range to keep them organized.

“We have always had the gathering house, where friends and family come to eat and relax,” says Marci. Now there is much more, and more comfortable room, to enjoy their frequent get-togethers.

Article published in 2013-14 issue. 

Photography by Chris Vaccaro
Written by Jessica Laniewski

Kitchen Design: Apex Kitchens & Baths
Countertop & Tile: Granite Countertops by Quality Tile

Apex kitchen

Left: A small closet located under the stairs was turned into a fully-outfitted wet bar. Right: the counter was made using full slabs of marble to create a cohesive look.

Apex 2

Left: An overhang in the island’s marble top, from Granite Countertops by Quality Tile, allows a place to tuck stools out of the way. Right: A fireplace and custom-built shelves and cabinets anchor one end of the kitchen.