Camille Bernstein loves to cook, but the galley kitchen in the Franklin home she shares with her husband, David, and their two middle-schoolers was uncomfortable. And, all too often, a great big mess. “There was almost no counter space and I was always having to bend down and twist around,” Camille says. “It was so hard to keep organized that it became perilous to pull out a pot or pan.”
The Bernsteins, who are both teachers, weren’t crazy about the scuffed cabinets, squeaky drawers, and plain white walls, either. “[Our house] is a 1949 expanded Cape with beautiful floors and a ton of character,” David says. “But then you turn the corner and see the kitchen.”
The couple hired Resa Gray of Honeycomb Design + Build to redesign the cramped kitchen and jumbled storage area adjacent to it. Gray understood the family’s frustrations and shared their desire to inject life into the dark, dull spaces. “Camille and David have incredible energy,” the designer says. “We wanted to create a kitchen that reflected their outlook and style.”
First, Gray took down the wall that separated the kitchen from the sitting area and replaced it with a peninsula. Not only did this make the kitchen feel airier and connect it to the rest of the house, it provided more counter space and seating for two. She also demolished the unused chimney and relocated the door of the nearby bathroom. The effort widened the entry from the sitting area to the kitchen. It also freed up enough space to create a coffee station and to slot in the fridge, which, when open, had blocked the path to the storage room.
When it came time to choose finishes, Camille was drawn to wild color and pattern, while David preferred a quieter scheme. “I didn’t want something that made me dizzy every time I walked in,” he says. Camille, on the other hand, wanted to wow guests with something outrageous.
Artwork and colors used elsewhere in the house offered direction. Gray extended the existing Benjamin Moore Tansy Green walls into the kitchen and chose blue cabinetry. “The muted shade satisfied Camille’s need for color without being too bold for David,” she says.
The designer used an equally considered approach in picking finishes. The backsplash tile is white, but highly textural and slightly pearlescent so it glimmers in the sun. The punched aluminum panels in the upper cabinets add pattern, but in a neutral tone, as does the richly-veined granite countertop. Finally, brass hardware — Gray persuaded the clients it was OK to mix metals — and the walnut shelves and coffee station countertop infuse an earthy, approachable luster.
Gray carried some of the same elements into the storage room, which she transformed into a stylish, organized pantry. A durable oak countertop serves as a secondary workspace for baking. Built-in shelves painted Sherwin-Williams Moody Blue surround the window and follow the slanted roofline, which was revealed when the team ripped out the low ceiling. Loud, stripe-y linoleum flooring brings in the zip Camille craved. “It was a stretch for David, but I wanted to do something unexpected for them,” Gray says. David says he’s come to love the punch of color. “Resa was very successful in melding what each of us wanted,” Camille says.
Most importantly, navigating the kitchen is now seamless. “I feel like I’m dancing when I cook,” Camille says. And, everyone can participate in food prep. “David and I can cook together without him feeling like he’s in my way,” Camille says. “It’s not my kitchen anymore; it’s our kitchen.”
Interior designer and contractor: Honeycomb Design + Build, honeycombdesignbuild.com
Natural wood shelves and countertops: Sprague Woodworking Co., spraguewoodworking.com