Text by: Nancy Berry
Texture and light define this Martha’s Vineyard kitchen designed by Liz Stiving Nichols, principal of Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design. “The homeowners requested a contemporary kitchen that would open to the main living spaces in their new island getaway home,” says Stiving Nichols. They wanted the kitchen to truly become the heart of the house.” They also wanted it to evoke a sense of the New England island traditions without it being too predictable.
Stiving Nichols and Breese Architects designed a sophisticated open kitchen plan with rich materials and contemporary details. The whitewashed cathedral ceiling with exposed trusses allows the room to feel spacious; the ceiling’s light color is a sharp contrast to the dark walnut floors.
Honoring the View
“The center workstation—the island—is oriented to the views of the sound,” notes Stiving Nichols. “Having unobstructed views of the water was a must in the design. In fact, it is the view that set the tone for the color palette of the space.”
Contemporary & Coastal
To keep the look streamlined and modern, the white cabinetry is made with simple flat-paneled doors with cast white bronze handles and topped with a gray Caesarstone counter. The gray counters are the color of driftwood that might be found washed up on the shores of Martha’s Vineyard. To further complement the vernacular island style, the Thermador 30” built-in column refrigerator and freezer are paneled in wide V-groove wood boards, a typical wall surface found in older island houses. A small built-in desk rests between the units. The custom zinc range hood is sleek and utilitarian, but an old ship’s lantern positioned on top is a reminder of the home’s special location.
Getting Light Right
The architect maximized natural light by introducing as many windows as possible. The etched glass upper cabinets are suspended in front of interior windows that look onto the screened porch. “The glass allows light to filter into the space,” says Stiving Nichols. The large windows become a pass through for meals served on the porch. The shape and material of the upper cabinets is carried through to the custom light fixture over the kitchen’s center island, which is topped in the semiprecious stone—quartz. The stone (called “puro concheto”) is backlit to create an opalescent, translucent look.
The cabinets are suspended with metal hangers whose finish mimics the lower cabinets’ hardware. The kitchen sink is a custom design with a built-in groove drain board designed from the same material as the perimeter countertops. A small breakfast table on the opposite side of the island can slide under the island when not in use.
Ocean fossils (50,000-million-years-old!) are embedding into the wall of cut stone behind the 60-inch black commercial range. “These ancient elements evoke thoughts of the sea and make the space truly special,” she says. Another unique touch is the hand-blown, sculptured glass “Koi” chandelier by San Francisco artist Nikolas Weinstein. “Its form is organic; it’s a piece of functional art,” says Stiving Nichols. The dining table offers another interesting detail: The architect found an old metal United Airlines sign at the Brimfield Antiques Fair for its top. “It’s a striking contrast against the flowing colorful piece above,” says Stiving Nichols. The homeowners couldn’t be happier with their one-of-a-kind space with all the bells and whistles of gourmand’s seaside kitchen.