Nearly two years ago, I received a phone call from a friend and fellow designer who asked if I would be interested in a project that she felt would be a better fit for me. I was thrilled with the prospect and overwhelmed by her generosity. She sent the plans and put me in touch with Cathy, the homeowner, and Pam, the Project Manager of Jato Building Contractors Inc. It was a North Shore home with coastal views and stunning potential. Pam and Cathy made an appointment to meet in my studio where I learned that I was the fourth kitchen designer they were interviewing. To my fortune, our meeting was productive and our ideas aligned, and that moment a creative synergy was born.
I joined the team on the earliest days of construction which afforded me the opportunity to be involved in the space planning of the kitchen, pantry laundry room, family room, powder room and dining room. Once we all were pleased with the flow and function, we moved onto the details. Cathy and Pam had ideas of two design elements already in play: a vision of coastal elegance, and all the lighting fixtures in the home having already been selected -I’ll share more on the lighting…but we’ll leave that second part of the story in another post.
This house is located parallel with the North Shore of Long Island and has breathtaking views of the Long Island Sound. With this setting, the water’s presence had to play a role in every decision. As you take this tour with me I will share the details of each space so you can see how the power of creative synergy leads to more than just a kitchen design; it provides the positive energy to create an aesthetic that honors both the homeowner and the home’s location on the North Shore and the picturesque view of the Long Island Sound.
The Kitchen with Coastal Views
Grace, serenity, tradition, and harmony are all of the adjectives that describe the finished result of this space. It's that feeling when you walk into a newly finished project and it seems like the space has been this way forever. That's success!
Each detail was thoughtfully selected to tell the story of the homeowner, the architecture, and of course, the location. Let's start with the color palette. The soft natural tones were chosen so that they don’t overpower the space, but rather bring in the coastal tones that are right outside the window. This color palette is carried throughout the house with perfect balance and enough accent colors to give definition and detail! First, let’s take a look at the kitchen layout and work space.
Because Cathy really is a cook, this kitchen is for more than just for show….
The most daunting challenge of this large kitchen was making it function comfortably. What I mean by this is called “the work triangle” - meaning the relationship between the sink, the fridge, and the cooktop - fitting within the National Kitchen and Bath Association guidelines of distances and clearances so you can maneuver from one point of the triangle to the next easily. With these details in mind, I then had the challenge of trying to layout the space without the convenience of using the sink wall for any wall cabinetry or tall cabinetry. My next consideration was incorporating Thermador Appliances to meet her cooking needs and find the perfect rhythm and flow.
Another element of the design story that I wanted to integrate was a subtle nod to the water that is seen from every viewpoint in the house. The perfect selection was Cambria’s Skara Brae - its natural movement in the perfect shades gives definition to the space as well as the story. Using Skara Brae on the walls in addition to the countertop carries your eyes up and around the kitchen and captures the ebb and flow of the nearby water. The custom-figured maple wood countertop by Grothouse with its rich, dark stain adds to the elegance and provides depth and strength to the space.
Through the antique mirrored door...
The movement of the quartz draws our eye around the kitchen by the movement of the stone and allows it to land on the reflection seen in the antique mirrored door- This material was selected to be subtle enough to compliment its surroundings, yet was mindful of the person in the banquette with their back to the window by giving them a view of the water. The mirrored door is access to the walk-in pantry hidden behind the wall.
& through the hall, find the pantry.
Despite it being hidden, the pantry contains many unexpected details. From the cabinetry’s soft tones and the glass upper cabinets’ wire finishing to the wire baskets hidden below, nature continues to permeate the space with the second wooden countertop we have seen on our tour so far. Another by Grothhouse, this top is ash with a custom stain.
From the Kitchen to the Dining room
As we move from one room to the next, the mood subtly changes while still keeping elements woven together in order to keep the story connected. The server you see here takes on a more formal look with the use of lighted glass cabinetry with elegant mullion doors. Cambria's Beaumont design adds the perfect amount of subtle sparkle to the space. This quartz also complements the Grothouse figured maple top which we saw earlier in the kitchen island. I love to mix elements and the impact they have on one another to create a new, unique look. The Thermador wine column balances these pairings and completes the space.
Great Room Featuring Custom Quartz Chandeliers
Through an arched doorway from the kitchen, we are led into the great room. My designs here extend beyond the basic function of the room into the minute details of the entire space. Each detail provides energy and flow to enliven the whole room. Notice the custom rounded, bleached walnut cabinets that flank the fireplace - they may seem simple in design, but if you look closely, the cabinet is detailed with Cambria's Myddleton stone that lines the back of the towers. With the flip of a switch, this quartz is even back-lit to add an elegant evening glow to the room. As your eyes are drawn up to the ceiling, you will see the custom chandeliers I created which are hung from back-lit quartz slabs. On or off, these light fixtures are one of my favorite design elements in the entire home because of the way they push creative thinking, unique execution, and technical capability into design.
Relaxing in the Den
The coastal elegance continues into the den and draws on elements to keep consistency between the rooms. We sourced new materials to tell the home’s story including a white oak-wash wood. The door style becomes more casual and the use of integrated hand pulls adds interest while the height of the glass cabinets with long wood pulls keeps it elegant.
For me, it’s the mix of the wood finish and Cambria's Kelvingrove stone with a matte finish that makes the space. Take a look at that quartz detail on the wall unit and how it is brought downward and used to wrap the fireplace. The softness of the colors and the movement of the pattern keeps the coastal palette, but allows it to be told in a new light.
The Laundry room is Soft and Fresh.
In reviewing the color palette of the home, I selected the Mirage Gray to accent the laundry room. The gray gives the space a clean and seamless look. I paired the cabinets with Cambria’s whitest stone, ‘Whitecliff’. I incorporated this surface up the wall as a backsplash, and even created a drying board to allow water to drain into the custom farm sink. Inside the top right drawer is a fold out ironing board, and next to that are built-in pullout drying racks for clothes. All of the wants and needs of the laundry room were met with simplicity and function.
Views from the 2nd Floor
Now that you have seen most of the first floor, let's head upstairs to see the rest where I designed an office, two doors, and three of the six total bathrooms in this home.
Upon entering, you are greeted by a breathtaking view of the Long Island Sound where your senses are delighted by all the details. Here you have the most interesting view of the ceiling art!
If you take a look to the right, you have the first glimpse of a one of a kind door that was designed especially for Cathy’s daughter’s bedroom.
The Executive Office
As the upstairs has an open floor plan, I decided to tuck an office into the landing’s alcove. Here I created a bookcase that also serves as a secret access to a storage area. No detail was left unattended to; even the color palette added some punch to the subtle palette with the pop of blue to reflect the nearby coast. Weatherborn Blue Wallpaper backing is mixed into the backdrop of each shelving area to give the unit depth and texture.
Just through the office alcove is a nook reserved for a custom file cabinet and printer storage. I brought the washed white oak from the den and this time paired it with Cambria’s Montgomery.
I hope you enjoyed the tour, there is still so much more to see, but we'll save that for the next visit! See you soon.