New, larger kitchen keeps a few elements of the old
When Bobbi Wegner decided to renovate the kitchen of her Milton home, she didn’t consider hiring a designer to help select materials and finishes. Instead she relished the process of exploring the endless options available. At night, after putting her three children to bed, she’d hop on her laptop and peruse Houzz and Pinterest for ideas. “It was a labor of love,” says Wegner, a clinical psychologist. “I researched every detail.”
A Federalist built in 1810, Wegner’s house is rambling and stately — an eye-catcher for sure, but the kitchen lacked a layout conducive to modern living. “A wall separated the kitchen from an oversized pantry that had two odd hallways. It was just a small, weird space,” says Wegner, who craved a spacious kitchen that accommodated a kitchen table as well as an additional sitting area.
Wegner tapped her brother-in-law Phil Laing, a contractor and carpenter, to craft the kitchen of her dreams. Laing took down the pantry walls and relocated the basement stairway so the kitchen could be opened up to accommodate a sitting area.
All the wood — floorboards and rafters — was saved and reused. Some of it went to the sizable island, which has an alluring walnut butcherblock top; some was used as the base of a built-in banquette around the table. “The goal was to make the kitchen updated and comfortable but it was important to fold in as much as we could of the original house,” says Wegner.
The centerpiece of the kitchen is the striking Lacanche range. Known as the “Saulieu” model, it was acquired in New York because the French manufacturer has no Boston outpost. While the purchase was a splurge, it was well worth it since the stove is now Wegner’s favorite aspect of the room. To match the range, an equally impressive hood was crafted by Eurostove in Beverly. For efficiency, new windows were required and Wegner opted to have black windows installed. Framed with white molding, the windows stand out beautifully and pair well with the black stove.
“Having a contractor that’s a family member is really helpful,” says Wegner. “Phil was really good about telling us where we should spend money and where not to.”
Creamy white cabinetry was purchased at American Traditions in Quincy and the enamel pendant lights over the island were scored from Lucent Lamp Works on Etsy for $100 apiece. While Wegner loved the look of marble, she was concerned about its maintenance, and instead went with Bianco Romano granite, a blend of white, gray, black, and flecks of cranberry tones.
Brass hardware ties in with the historical integrity of the house as well as the knobs on the stove. Quarter sewn oak floors were installed to match the appearance of those in the adjacent hallway.
“The house almost looks like a plantation style on the exterior,” says Wegner. She wanted to retain that kind of style — a melding of fancy and relaxed — in the dining area. A candelabra chandelier from Restoration Hardware seems dressed up, but the fact that it’s made of wood keeps it from being overdone. A pedestal table, also from Restoration Hardware, is paired with French bistro style chairs from Serena & Lily that are a snap to wipe clean.
Wegner and her husband cherish the house for its origins and while the kitchen is now comfortable and functional for a modern family, it also ties in with the historical architecture. Says Wegner: “It’s our happy place.”