Text by: Kathryn Pritchett
Jennifer Gilmer’s clients wanted a contemporary kitchen that would not compete with their home’s traditional Dutch Colonial style and would have a more efficient and graceful layout. The existing kitchen featured an out-of-proportion island that chopped the space in half, obscured a corner fireplace and left too little room for their breakfast table. Storage and counter space were at a minimum so they wanted to increase both while still retaining a comfortable place to sit and eat in the kitchen. They also wanted the space to be more open and cheerful. And they wanted to incorporate the beautiful furniture and objets d’art they’d gathered through years of travel in Asia and the South Pacific.
PROJECT CHALLENGES: A very small window and door in the back wall of the existing kitchen did not let light into the kitchen or connect the interior to the exterior garden space. The door also cut the kitchen in half, limiting counter space. A second door leading into the dining room was too small and not in keeping with the size of either the dining room or the kitchen. The fireplace needed some renovation to enhance rather than detract from the space. Finally, the cabinet style needed to be changed in order to blend the Dutch Colonial house with the clients’ Asian artifacts.
DESIGN SOLUTIONS: Gilmer installed a new all glass door with a transom for more light on the wall next to the fireplace. This gave more freedom of movement and less interruption in the working space. Then she replaced the old exterior door opening with three windows over the sink to maximize the beautiful backyard view. She removed the small door between the dining room and the kitchen and widened the opening as much as possible. This helped connect the two rooms better, which makes entertaining easier. The wider opening into the dining room enabled a larger size island with an attached 37” high breakfast table. DESIGN FEATURES: In order to break up the large length of island, Gilmer added a curved wood top on the table portion. She replaced the brick on the fireplace mantle with knotted cherry for a more cohesive look. She selected an Asian style door for the cabinets that would be traditional enough to fit the home. The cabinet finishes were inspired by a tall tansu armoire that moved from the kitchen into the adjacent dining room where it could be shown to better advantage. Finally, a favorite French metal sculpture found a new home on the renovated fireplace.