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Erin Gates and Allison Whittemore of Erin Gates Design collaborated with Lori McGeown at Kramer’s Custom Kitchens and Woodworking on laying out this Charlestown kitchen. “There was not enough cabinetry or counter space for a busy, young family,” Gates says. Although the room’s proportions are tight — the town house was built in the early 1800s — the team added a center island that maintains the circulation to and from the space. As for color and style, they took cues from the historic property itself. “White would have felt too stark, so we delved into a neutral palette,” Gates says.

1 The stools’ profile offer comfort without bulk, while the dark finish reflects the clients’ traditional taste and warms up the space. “Brown-toned furniture is back,” Gates declares.


2 The Georgian-style Perrin & Rowe faucet is in keeping with the home’s roots, as is the unlacquered brass finish that will patina over time. The farmhouse sink is also period appropriate.

3 The cupboard to the left of the doorway visually connects the otherwise awkward corner to the rest of the room. “Classic Shaker-style cabinets are a go-to for us,” Gates says. “They’ll never go out of style.”

4 The Hudson Valley Lighting painted metal pendants mimic English ceramic styles. “I like the streamlined shape and the classic brass details that coordinate with the hardware,” Gates says. “Unlike clear glass, they won’t be a struggle to keep clean.”

5 Inexpensive ceramic tiles with texture and variation have a rustic feel without a handmade price.

6 The design of the porcelain tile floor pays homage to the painted checkerboard pattern on the existing wide-plank floorboards. “While full of character, the deep grooves caught every crumb,” Gates says. “This will be easy as pie to maintain.”

Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.