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Design ideas: A South end kitchen returns to its New England roots

Timeless materials help restore the kitchen in this 19th-century Victorian to a more original look and feel.

Kasie DiNella of Mend Interiors designed a softly-rounded island to help facilitate circulation in the space.Erin Little

Despite the traditional bones of this 19th-century Victorian brownstone, the kitchen was starkly modern. The new owners, who relocated to the South End from California, asked Kasie DiNella of Mend Interiors for a warm, timeless look that felt more like New England. Working with Freddie Bisceglia of Marquis Building & Design and Walter Lane at WLC Cabinetmakers, DiNella remade the kitchen without altering its footprint, save for the orientation of the island. “Classic materials, crown moldings, and light taupe paint — Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray — complement the warmth of the original oak floors, restoring historical integrity,” DiNella says.

1 The quartzite countertop with light gray veining nods to the home’s restored marble fireplaces. “Marble would have been the most authentic,” DiNella says, “but this is easier to maintain and still in keeping with the house.”


2 The farmhouse sink feels welcoming. Although the cabinets boast unlacquered brass hardware, the plumbing fixtures have a satin brass finish. “Heavy-use items don’t patina as well,” the designer explains.

3 Textural glass cabinet fronts are light, but provide enough opacity so the contents don’t have to be pristine. “There is adequate prep surface, so we brought those cabinets down to the countertop to increase storage,” DiNella says.

4 The 4-by-5-inch ceramic tiles in the backsplash are installed vertically to draw the eye up. It’s a modern take on a traditional look that adds a touch of height in a horizontal area.

5 The range hood slopes back to the ceiling, echoing the curve of the crown molding. “You see the profile as you enter the room, so we didn’t want it to feel heavy,” DiNella says. “It was also an opportunity to highlight a curved shape.”

6 DiNella designed a softly-rounded island to accommodate four stools that do not interfere with cooking while allowing for smooth circulation. The curved stool back emulates the island’s shape; when pushed in, there are no harsh edges.


Marni Elyse Katz is a contributing editor to the Globe Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StyleCarrot. Send comments to