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Your Home | Kitchens & Baths

An ingenious island makes this kitchen perfect for parties

A traditional-looking Cape house in Sandwich conceals a cutting-edge kitchen with clever features.

Homeowner Pamela Shepard cuts vegetables at the island, where she and her husband also eat quick meals. The Elston stools are from Crate & Barrel. Colorful spice jars by Victoria Gourmet fit perfectly on a 4-inch-deep portion of shelving above the range. The couple keep mostly clear glasses in front of the window so sunlight and the view shine through.dan cutrona for the boston globe

AFTER 20 YEARS in their three-bedroom home in Sandwich, Pamela Shepard and Paul Stajduhar were happy with its size and location, but the layout had some deficits, and their tastes had evolved. Rather than jump ship, the newly minted empty nesters opted to renovate. “We decided to turn it into exactly what we wanted,” Shepard says. “We plan to live here forever.”

The couple hired Alissa Hike Harris and Chris Harris of North Falmouth-based Salt Architecture to breathe new life into their home, a traditional 2,990-square-foot Cape built in 1993. They wanted to open up the first-floor interior, particularly the kitchen and dining area, and add access to the patio. They also wanted a cleaner look. “Pam asked that it become as modern as we could make a Cape while still retaining its original character,” Hike Harris says.


A peninsula divided the dining and kitchen areas, and no design elements tied them together. The architects devised a crisp white scheme with painted custom wood cabinetry by Sandwich-based Krafton Woodworks & Designs, a Carrara marble countertop, and a backsplash of 4-by-8-inch tiles in the same material.

One side of the kitchen is dedicated to storage, with flip-top cabinets, a trio of sliding panels, and multiple drawers.

A custom panel helps the counter-depth fridge blend in. A large stainless sink and downdraft range anchor the other side, with two rows of open shelving running across the window. The shelving continues into the dining room, weaving the spaces aesthetically, while a lower 30-inch-high sideboard signals a change in function.

The Harrises designed a reclaimed-wood and metal island that can be lowered and used as an extension to the coordinating dining table (also their design). Krafton Woodworks & Designs fashioned the tops out of 200-year-old chestnut, and Cor-Metals Inc. in Mashpee fabricated the steel bases. The rustic wood adds warmth and texture and echoes a new sliding barn-style door on the pantry.


“Lowering the island is a bit of a process, since it’s so heavy — two people have to hold the top while someone else pulls the pins,” Shepard says. They enlist guests to help, welcoming the chance to get everyone involved in the preparations.

Shepard also enjoys the reactions from people visiting their newly renovated house for the first time. “They don’t anticipate how modern it will be when they walk in,” she says. “I love the surprise.”


With the island extension attached, the dining table seats up to 14. Around the table are white bent- beechwood Vienna chairs and Curran dining chairs upholstered in synthetic leather, both from Crate & Barrel.dan cutrona for the boston globe/Dan Cutrona
Panels slide along grooves cut into the marble countertop, hiding small appliances. “They wanted to cut clutter,” says architect Alissa Hike Harris. “Things are still accessible but out of sight.”dan cutrona for the boston globe
Shepard’s father hand-carved the fish out of a single piece of wood, and her mother painted it. Pieces of Van Briggle art pottery inherited from homeowner Paul Stajduhar’s mother’s extensive collection are displayed amid everyday dishware.dan cutrona for the boston globe

Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at stylecarrot.com. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.