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Light Fantastic

A family of five finds its center of gravity in a chic new kitchen—a sun-soaked contemporary that radiates warmth

Ask any city slickers about their apartment’s Achilles’ heel, and they’ll sigh and tell you it’s the shoebox-sized kitchen. “We had been living in a Manhattan apartment with a small railroad kitchen, dreaming of someday having one large enough to gather in,” says the owner, who holds a senior level merchandising position at a prominent French luxury goods company. With another child on the way, her family was craving more breathing room and decamped to Greenwich, her husband’s old stomping grounds. The new house was a center-hall Colonial with great bones, but the kitchen? Two words: Reagan era.

For most potential buyers, an aging 80’s kitchen would be a dealbreaker. Not so for this pragmatic pair. “We’re both from New England and have a bit of Yankee practicality, so we would’ve been reluctant to rip out a newer, functioning kitchen, even if it wasn’t our taste,” says the wife. “I was thrilled that it was so outdated because it made the decision to renovate easy.” Easier still was their top draft pick for kitchen design. “My husband and I loved Christopher Peacock kitchens and obsessed over them for a while,” she enthuses. “I even attended cooking classes in his showroom to learn how a larger kitchen functions.”


The owners had originally fantasized about a classic Christopher Peacock Scullery kitchen with white painted cabinets, but when the duo spotted the contemporary walnut cabinetry in the showroom, they switched gears. In a sophisticated transformation led by Christopher Peacock senior designer Kathy Conroy, the marriage of sleek fixtures and rich, low-luster walnut proved to be a winning combination. “It was a traditional material done in a modern, ‘today’ way,” the wife says. “We love the warmth and character of the wood and how each panel is unique. And with three young children, nicks are inevitable and a natural wood is more forgiving.”   

Kids also factored into the equation when the owners enlisted Jeff Kaufman of JMKA Architects to rethink the kitchen’s dimensions. Since the house was closed off to the backyard—the children’s main play area—his team pushed the back wall of the house four feet to accommodate a wall of glass doors. “Daylight streams into the kitchen all day,” says Jeff, “and with two new islands facing the glass, you always have a view of the kids outside.”

But why even bother venturing outside when your airy, light-filled kitchen has such a strong gravitational pull? “This is a busy family, and their new kitchen is the hub of the house,” says Conroy. “It was very important to keep the organization and flow family friendly.” From baking to coloring to working to entertaining, there is constant activity, and they wouldn’t want it any other way. “We like that we are all in one place and can enjoy one another, rather than having everyone scattered around the house,” the owner says. “We can all be doing different activities but still be together.”

Christopher Peacock Home, 203-862-9333; peacockcabinetry.com
JMKA Architects, 203-698-8888; jmkarchitects.com