The owners of this 1880 Victorian cottage relocated to Wilton from Brooklyn Heights, New York, in 2001, but didn’t touch the kitchen until March of 2006. It was the imminent arrival of their first child, six months later in September, that drove the timetable for a complete renovation of the room, which had last been updated in the 1960s.
“Functionality was key,” says the owner, who, with her husband, cooks on a regular basis, frequently entertaining family and friends on weekends and holidays. “We wanted something bright and spare, in an open plan.” (Their kitchen accounts for about 700 of the home’s 3,500 square feet.)
Wilton-based architects Faesy-Smith had already expanded the raw space by demolishing a dilapidated screened porch and adding the square footage to the kitchen floor plan when Terry Scarborough of Kitchens by Deane in New Canaan arrived on the scene. A certified master kitchen and bath designer, Terry worked directly with the client and general contractor Steve Shoals of Interior Concepts in Wilton to determine the detailed program.
“I love it when clients come in with photos torn from magazines. It gives me a sense of what appeals to them,” says Terry, who lauded the client’s ability to make decisions. “I’m going to make it look and function great, but the client has to tell me what they need and what they want it to look like. It’s a partnership.”
The cabinetry is painted in a custom seafoam gray lacquer with a matte finish from Benjamin Moore. Hardware is finished brushed nickel; small loops were chosen for doorpulls and elongated ones that mimic the pulls on the Sub-Zero were selected for the drawers. Countertops are honed Pietra Cardoza Italian limestone, and the backsplash is finished in small square blue-green tiles by Ann Sacks. Floors are narrow-planked white oak with radiant heat.
“We limited the number of wall cabinets because we wanted to expose the windows and keep it light,” explains Terry, who oversaw the detailed conversion of a corner of the room into convenient built-ins, which do double duty—both as a receptacle for an extensive collection of rare and antique cookbooks and as a half-barrier to the basement stairs, allowing someone at work in the kitchen to remain abreast of activities in the family room on the lower level.
To provide supplemental storage and additional task space, an island was constructed in the center of the kitchen. It features a stainless steel apron sink from Elkay, two refrigerator drawers from GE, and a Sharp microwave drawer tucked under the countertop. The homeowner found the Kartell lucite stools, which appear to float in place, at Design Within Reach.
As a special feature, Terry created a baking station on one end of the island where the owner rolls out her dough. Made of cherrywood, it features a Calacatta marble top and is custom-designed to the owner’s height.
“The baking station was a nice surprise,” Terry says. “They had seen a similar one in our showroom and loved that it looked like a piece of furniture.”
The owners found a big white porcelain farmhouse sink in a salvage yard in Pennsylvania and had it re-glazed—twice—because it was damaged while awaiting its fate in the garage. Now it sits beneath a sunny window.
“We basically built the cabinetry to fit around the sink,” Terry says. “It’s kind of a nod to the history of the house.”
The owners also found a tin-topped table at an antiques show, had it refinished, and paired it with Kartell lucite chairs that match the stools at the island.
“The clients have a really terrific sense of design,” Terry explains. “The husband is a great scavenger. He finds old things and has a good eye for blending them into the space.”
For lighting, the owners installed antique enameled pendants over the island, which they bought from a Swedish antiques dealer. A nineteenth-century Empire-style chandelier hangs over the table, and recessed fixtures provide additional light from under the cabinets.
“We try to mix our modern aesthetic with antiques or vintage pieces,” says the homeowner (and wife of the design-oriented scavenger), who left her job in children’s book publishing to raise her daughter full-time.
They chose an upright refrigerator from Sub-Zero and selected a CornuFé oven and range for its vintage flair.
When looking back on the six months of intense work, the owner says, “There are always going to be surprises, so it’s best to communicate your expectations and to stick to the timetable as much as possible.”
Her communication skills became so good that when she went into labor during a daytrip into New York City, she was able to instruct her contractor, by phone, to deliver her overnight bag to the hospital in Connecticut. Now that’s a partnership!
Ann Sacks, Greenwich, 622-8884; annsacks.com
Design Within Reach, Greenwich, 422-2013, and Westport, 227-9707; dwr.com
Faesy-Smith Architects PC, Wilton, 834-2724; faesy-smith.com
Interior Concepts, Wilton, 762-2005
Kitchens by Deane, New Canaan, 972-8836, and Stamford, 327-7008; kitchensbydeane.com