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Your Home | KItchens & Baths

When his neighbors moved, he had new options for renovating his Salem condo

Jumping off the owner’s desire for a white kitchen, the designer devised a high-contrast design with rustic elements and moody moments.

The beam ended up larger than expected, but the weathered detail adds to the home’s charm. “It’s important to stay flexible and get creative, especially in older homes where there are often surprises,” interior designer Hannah Oravec says.Joyelle West Photography

Having lived in the upstairs unit of this 1920s workman’s cottage in Salem for more than 10 years, Hannah Oravec’s client jumped at the chance to absorb the lower unit when his neighbor moved. The space, which hadn’t been updated in decades, would become a place to entertain and work from home.

The owner asked Oravec to stay true to the character of the historic home, while also bringing in some unique touches. Jumping off his desire for a white kitchen, Oravec devised a high-contrast design scheme with rustic elements and moody moments. For instance, the prominent beam, wrapped in old barn wood from Longleaf Lumber, adds soul to the small space, as do the charcoal-colored Vermont Soapstone countertops and backsplash.


“We knew we’d need to add supports because we dismantled the pantry to let in more light,” the designer says, referencing the corner next to the window where she nestled glass-front display cabinets. “We highlighted the beam to make it feel intentional.” Trimming the stove hood, which straddles two walls, with the barn wood helps tie it all together. “We kept the materials simple since the space is small, but added details like tongue and groove panels on the cabinets and swooped cutouts on the backsplash,” Oravec says.

Playing off the now-sunny, white kitchen, Oravec delved into drama in the dining room, hitting the walls, millwork, and ceiling with an indigo blue lime wash by Portola Paints. Because the dining room is surrounded by light and bright rooms, it “presented the opportunity to go deep and moody,” Oravec says. “The monochromatic design is subdued but impactful, and really draws you in.”

Oravec carries the monochromatic approach, with a lighter touch, to the bath. Here, Fireclay Tile’s handmade gray-green tiles with a mottled effect line the shower walls, while board and batten painted Sherwin-Williams’ Cascade Green adds dimension to the walls, accentuating the Craftsman feel. The finishing touch is the Viola marble sink from Turkey, which boasts bold, dark purple veining. The homeowner “was open to taking risks here,” Oravec says, “and was excited to see something different.”



Interior design: Lawless Design,

Contractor: Montillo Construction,

Kitchen cabinets: Vartanian Custom Cabinets,


The patinated surfaces of the vintage furniture  —  1960s Danish chairs with rush seats and an 1800s table with rough edges  —  echo the nuanced shell of the dining room.Joyelle West Photography
A farmhouse sink capitalizes on the small space and feels period appropriate, while slate floor tiles, in multiple sizes and installed in a random pattern, add interest without distraction.Joyelle West Photography
The glazed terra-cotta floor tiles from Fireclay Tile were the starting point in the bath, where a sliding shower door helps conserve space. “The colors tie to the vintage Persian rug in the dining room,” the designer says.Joyelle West Photography

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