Last renovated in the 1990s, the kitchen of this antique Hingham home was segregated from the rest of the house. The homeowners, who have young children, were isolated in the kitchen all the time, says architect Kyle Sheffield of Cambridge-based LDa Architecture & Interiors, who worked with principal Doug Dick to create a connection between an updated kitchen and a more substantial living area.
“The goal was not to increase the footprint of the house,” says Sheffield. A three-season porch next to the kitchen was replaced with a new year-round space open to the kitchen containing a sitting room and dining area overlooking the backyard.
Since there are no windows in the kitchen, “We were relying on the sitting room to create all the natural light for the kitchen,” says Doug Dick. Ceilings clad with bead board are vaulted. Glass walls were designed in keeping with the guidelines of the historic district: double hung windows proportioned like those throughout the rest of the house and capped with transoms.
“Clerestory windows at the apex of the sloping ceiling bring in a tremendous amount of light and are more interesting and historical than skylights,” says Dick.
The homeowner runs a cooking school out of the house, so the kitchen required an overhaul not only to make it more comfortable for a modern family of four, but flexible enough to accommodate up to 14 clients when her class is in session. “To marry the two concepts was exciting,” says Sheffield, who collaborated with Donna Venegas of kitchen showroom Venegas & Company to design a dual function kitchen.
The former kitchen island was rectangular and L-shaped. “It had a couple of great feet, but people seated at the rest of it were straining to see the homeowner’s demonstrations during the classes,” says Venegas. Now, at the new pavilion-style island, “there’s not one bad seat,” she says.
Ample enough to seat more than a dozen students, the island, crafted out of English character oak, is also comfortable and intimate. “It doesn’t feel overpowering,” says Dick. “The homeowner serves meals for her two kids at it and it feels very natural.”
While the sitting room and dining area have neutral backdrops accented by furnishings in calming hues, the kitchen bursts with bold color and an amazing array of materials. A secondary chef island with a prep sink and a knife block inset in the counter, custom sized to the homeowner’s knife specifications, is painted a vibrant red and topped with edge grain rosewood. Edge grain rosewood was also used on the upper counter of the main island. “We used the same log of rosewood, but cut it in differently to showcase the wood in different ways,” explains Venegas.
The upper cabinets on the wine station were also crafted out rosewood, in a veneer face grain. The counter of the wine station is concetto, a semi precious stone surface by Caesarstone.
While the homeowner’s cooking library is encased in black cabinetry, the majority of cabinetry is painted slate blue. The counter and cabinets by the main sink and dishwasher are stainless steel. “Wood panels are often applied to conceal appliances, we did the opposite by installing stainless steel cabinetry around the dishwasher to make a bigger statement,” says Venegas.
Glass backsplash tile has a reflective quality that paired with the stainless steel has a cool appeal that tempers the wood and black in the room. “All of these different layers add a huge amount of depth to the room,” says Venegas.
The homeowners enjoy the multi-faceted kitchen immensely, especially because it’s now part of a spacious living area that has access to the backyard through a French door. “Prior to the renovation, there wasn’t a space in house that had an immediate connection to the patio and garden where the homeowner peels basil and picks strawberries,” says Sheffield. “Now she can get out there easily when she’s cooking. On a minute level, it’s a nice progression from farm to table.”