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  • Writer's pictureThe PJ Team

Kitchen of the Week: Coastal Colors and a Better Flow

Pros help Massachusetts homeowners expand their kitchen to bring in natural light and give everyone a seat at the island

This kitchen renovation came about the same way so many do, from plans to redo “just one room” nearby. Originally the young family of five wanted to give its late-1970s family room a refresh, planning to renovate the adjacent kitchen a few years down the line. But after meeting with architect Caitlin Struble and interior designer Kelly McGuill, it decided to expand the project, rearrange the rooms to give them better flow and light, and get all that construction over with in one fell swoop.

Photos by Kyle Caldwell

Kitchen of the Week Who lives here: A young family of five Location: Medfield, Massachusetts Size: 500 square feet (46 square meters) Designers: Kelly McGuill (interior design) and Caitlin Struble of Winslow Design Architects (architecture)

Blending Styles

“These homeowners were very involved and had a good idea of what they wanted, but needed help visualizing an open space,” McGuill says. They were drawn to a transitional style that leaned more toward traditional than modern with subtle coastal vibes. Beaded Shaker-style cabinetry, a farmhouse sink with a bridge faucet and subway tile bring in traditional elements, while the streamlined hardware and clean and light palette add modern touches.

The subtly coastal mood comes in through the color palette: a relaxing light blue on the island and sandy glazed subway tiles on the backsplash. There’s a mix of metals: brass on the lanterns and hardware, stainless steel on the prep sink faucet and polished chrome on the bridge faucet. “We thought about how everything would work with the stainless steel appliances when choosing the mix,” McGuill says. And a mix of metals is more trend-resistant than sticking with just one finish.

Before: The kitchen was in the center of the first floor, so it received little natural light. It was partially open to the family room, visible here on the right. The opening beyond the fridge led to a playroom space; a door just past the fridge on the left led to the dining room. Look to the right side of the photo to catch a glimpse of the family room’s tall brick fireplace flanked by two small, high triangular windows — a 1970s design moment that was the inspiration for this project in the first place. We’ll get to how the architect and interior designer improved that in a bit.

New Layout

Struble and McGuill persuaded their clients to remove the range wall and expand the kitchen back into the playroom and to get rid of the partial wall seen in the previous photo to completely open the kitchen to the family room. This allowed them to place new windows over the sink, bathing the room in light. “These windows add so much beautiful architecture to the space — they have simulated divided lights that protrude on both sides,” McGuill says.

Before: Comparing the original floor plan and the new floor plan illustrates the dramatic changes to the layout. This plan shows how the kitchen (center left) related to the family room (above top left) and the playroom (left). The existing eat-in bay is on the right side of the kitchen; the mudroom and powder room were also part of the renovations.

After: Extending the kitchen into the playroom gave the space great natural light and a pleasing relationship to the family room. This plan also shows the locations of a coffee bar-appliance garage and the pantry, which was expanded.

This is now the view from the family room into the kitchen. Expanding the kitchen made room for a 12-foot-long island that has space for the whole family to pull up a counter stool, loads of storage, a prep sink and a stovetop. McGuill concentrated the appliances along one wall, with double ovens, a panel-front fridge and cabinetry with pullout shelves.

“Durability was really important to these clients,” she says. “They really analyzed everything. For example, they studied counter stool choices to make sure they were sturdy enough to handle the kids climbing on them and that they didn’t have nooks and crannies that would collect crumbs.” It’s also why they opted for a Carrara-marble-like quartz for the countertops rather than actual marble. “They wanted a surface they practically could hose down,” McGuill says.

The barn-style pocket door to the left of the ovens leads to the dining room. The opening past that leads to the foyer.

Cabinet color: Decorator’s White, Benjamin Moore; island paint: Parma Gray, Farrow & Ball; wall paint: Balboa Mist, Benjamin Moore; pendant lights: Darlana, Visual Comfort; quartz counters: London Gray, Caesarstone

Before: “Having a place for everything and everything being in its place was important to these homeowners,” McGuill says. This dated kitchen desk wasn’t the best use of space and was a dust collector for the family’s glassware.

Additional Storage

McGuill used the desk space to create a coffee station-appliance garage surrounded by cabinetry. The appliance portion has lighting overhead, a countertop, outlets for small appliances and a warm cherry lining. Closing the doors keeps dust off the glassware.

To the left of the coffee station, they expanded the existing pantry to walk-in size and gave it a sliding barn door that echoes the dining room door.

Before: The kitchen’s eat-in area enjoyed a lovely view out an expansive bay window.

Eat-in Area

This was a spot worth saving — it just needed some sprucing up. McGuill used the clients’ existing expandable kitchen table, which was a great fit for the style and space. More coastal style comes in through the light wood woven chairs and the nautical-inspired brass pendant light.

Artwork and chairs: Red Bird Trading; light: Circa Lighting

The bay’s windows were replaced with the same style of windows used over the sink.

Speaking of windows, here’s where the project began, in the family room — those small triangular 1970s windows are long gone. And so is the partial wall between the kitchen and this space — whoever is working at the island can enjoy this lovely new view. Large new windows flank the fireplace, making the room light, bright and open to views of the yard. New window seats are favorite perches thanks to all the natural light and the warmth from the fire. And the pillows play off the blue of the kitchen island.

The fireplace also received a makeover. The existing brick surround was wrapped with fieldstone and shiplap and a beautiful reclaimed beam was used for the mantel.

This mudroom just past the eat-in area was also part of the project. It received new built-ins, complete with hooks, baskets, cabinets and a bench. The beadboard is another subtle coastal touch, while the herringbone brick-look floors add a casual farmhouse feel. “The mudroom floor is actually a porcelain tile that is made to look like a brick — it’s so good — it’s durable, beautiful and hides dirt,” McGuill says.

“It was an amazing experience as Caitlin and I were able to collaborate from the beginning stages with the client and look at different ways for the spaces to come together and come to life,” McGuill says. “We loved the idea of opening up the current kitchen to the family room, making all the spaces flow and become so inviting to everyone.”

Becky Harris July 12, 2019


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