Back Bay kitchen’s style goes from zilch to zen

The task? Transform a “serviceable but uninspiring” condo kitchen into something with “a clean, zen quality that reflects the Back Bay views.”

The developers left “a very contractor-oriented shell,” said Michael Cartercq, principal and owner of Newbury Street’s Carter & Company Interior Designcq. “The basics were there, but they were not particularly luxurious or elegant. The owners wanted to enhance the bones of what the building had offered.”

The kitchen itself boasts inspiring views of the Charles River and the neighborhood. “When you are up that high and look out over the Charles River and the rooftops, you have a zen moment,” Carter said. “I wanted to match that.” The homeowners were very open to ideas. “When we started showing them various cabinetry options, tile options, then they got more involved in the process. . . . They got very excited.”

When a home has an open floor plan, Carter said, he often tries to divert attention away from the kitchen.

This space, and its synergy with the beautiful view, however, became an exception, he said. “It says: ‘We welcome you. Look at this.’ ”

For more information about this room, scroll down beneath the photo.

Michael J Lee for The Boston Globe


The cabinets, by Poggenpohlcq, are constructed of a very pale birch. The hardware, contemporary straps of brushed nickel, were part of the set.


The tiles mimic the symmetry of the condo, designer Michael Carter said. “These condos are long and thin. They have long glass windows overlooking the Charles. The cabinetry is very linear in a very horizontal way.” The soft-white ceramic tiles, by Ann SacksSaks, are offset by glass tile taupe in color.


The bar stools, “Alto” by Icon Groupcq at the Boston Design Centercq, are clad in leather the color of parchment. Their brushed-nickel frames tie in with the (original) stainless-steel appliances, Carter said. “We had space limitations, and these gave us a lot of look while taking up little space.”


The pendant light, which has a frosted-glass shade, is from Good.


In the two units he worked on in this building, Carter said, the biggest problem was the flooring. The color was awful, so he replaced it in one condo. In this one, however, the floor, a rift-sawn oak, was refinished using his firm’s “own special formula” for stain.


Carter said he chose a white Caesarstone for the countertops because this material doesn’t stain and you can put hot pans on it. “I am using so much of it now. Aesthetically and for practicality, it’s winning on both counts,” he said. “They have an incredible range of colors and textures. . . . You can put marble down and spend the same amount of money.”

- Eileen McEleney Woods

Eileen McEleney Woods is the editor of Address. E-mail her at Follow Address on Twitter at @GlobeHomes.