Sometimes uncomplicated designs and timeless finishes have the most impact. Take, for instance, the kitchen of this 1929 Colonial Revival in Winchester. Refined and elegant with minimal adornment, the room is stunning in its simplicity — and that was precisely the point. The room was designed by Kochman Reidt + Haigh Cabinetmakers, and its president, Paul Reidt, says the intent was to “create a kitchen that was at home in the house. This was not to be a highly specialized space.” Reidt understood and embraced homeowner Anne Fantozzi’s vision from their first meeting.
“The kitchen hadn’t been renovated since the 1940s,” says Fantozzi, who shares the home with her husband and four children, ages 9, 12, 15, and 23. “We wanted the room to be in keeping with the house. We didn’t want high ceilings, recessed lighting, or a huge kitchen, because that wouldn’t have been consistent with the age of our house. At the same time, we didn’t want the room to feel too old or museum-ish. It needed to be a place where we could all fit comfortably together.”
Reidt worked to create elements that felt like pieces of furniture rather than built-in cabinetry. While an expansive hutch with sliding glass doors takes up one part of the kitchen, there aren’t any other upper cabinets. “In the early part of the 20th century, kitchens were work spaces — simply furnished rooms,” says Reidt. “The notion of lining a room with cabinets came in the 1930s; it was a modernist idea based on work efficiency.”
The finely crafted cabinets are traditionally styled, painted white, and fitted with polished nickel knobs and drawer pulls. Subway tile clads the walls behind the range and sink, while most of the counters are of Carrara marble. The island, an ample area for food prep and dining where the family frequently gathers, has a base of American black walnut.
Fantozzi wanted a diamond-patterned black and white marble floor as much for its durability as for its visual appeal. “The black and white hides everything; it will stand up for a long time,” she says. “I didn’t want to worry about a hardwood floor getting scraped.”
Reidt was drawn to the marble flooring for its historical context. “While not standard for a kitchen, it was a material used in grand homes at the turn of the century in formal entries,” he says. “Since the family rarely uses the front door in favor of the mudroom entry off of the kitchen, it was an interesting twist to use it in the kitchen. It provides a dramatic grounding for the rest of the home.”
The custom hood above the Wolf range and the flanking counters are made of stainless steel, which “sits gracefully with the black and white materials in the room,” says Reidt.
Nickel sconces capped with small shades from Circa Lighting are located in the sink area and above the stove. “They’re not too glamorous, but they are of very high-quality workmanship,” says Reidt. “The fixtures recall the sophisticated machine age that developed in early 20th century.” Glass pendant lights by designer Tom Dixon hang above the island and sink. “Made of thick cast glass, they are based on old glass insulators” found on early utility poles, says Reidt.
“We used some rich materials, but by and large it’s one of the simpler spaces we’ve ever done,” says Reidt. Fantozzi notes that while the room has a beautiful elegance, it’s very livable. “We don’t worry about the Carrara marble counters or making a mess. All the kids like to cook. The other night, our 9-year-old made sloppy Joes and our 15-year-old made blueberry pie. It’s a wonderful space for all of us to be together.”