Special Focus: Kitchen and Bath Design 2015

Classic or modern, sleek or rustic, today’s kitchens and baths are as varied as the people who use them. The common thread? Thoughtful design and undeniable beauty. 

Text by Paula M. Bodah

Modern Magic

Everything about this Brookline, Massachusetts, home is fresh, modern, and open. No walls divide the kitchen from the breakfast area to one side or the pantry (complete with a wine refrigerator) on the other. The kitchen also opens to a sitting area. The challenge happily assumed by Adolfo Perez and Andra Birkerts was to create seamless transitions clearly delineating each area’s function. The quiet palette of grays and taupes forms a consistent backdrop for a mix of materials: concrete floors, a stone backsplash, shelves of steel and oak, and counters of concrete and resin with accents of stainless steel. The sitting area is cleverly defined by an irregular-shaped Paula Lenti rug in a hot orange that projects both warmth and whimsy. And just for fun, a trio of white Blu Dot bar stools is joined by one in brilliant turquoise.

SO15 modern kitchen

SO15 modern kitchen

Interior design: Andra Birkerts
Architecture: Adolfo Perez
Builder: Thoughtforms
Photography by Richard Mandelkorn
A Shining Example

The kitchen is truly the heart of this Massachusetts home, the nucleus for all the family activities, the homeowner says. Classic ingredients like white cabinetry and black granite counters get a contemporary kick from the glossy crackle-tile backsplash, the leather-edged rugs, and the fetching celery hue of the faux leather upholstery on the Dakota Jackson chairs at the island. A coffer above the island brings interest to the expansive ceiling and acts as a frame for a pair of oversize tole-shaded Charles Edwards hanging chandeliers that are nothing short of magnificent. The space gets a bit of extra shine from the mirrored cabinet fronts. “Keeping things organized in a glass-front cabinet can be a nightmare,” says designer Maribeth Brostowski. The antique French mirror panes keep things both bright and tidy.

SO15 white kitchen

SO15 white kitchen

SO15 white kitchen

Interior design: Maribeth Brostowski and Polly Lewis, Lewis Interiors
Architecture: Julia Chuslo
Builder: Payne/Bouchier
—Photography by  Greg Premru; Produced by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Simply Perfect

This suburban Boston kitchen has such an appealing simplicity one might be forgiven for being slow to catch on to designer Emily Pinney’s clever employment of a variety of materials. The room’s working wall—where dinner is cooked and dishes are washed—is clad in reclaimed brick that supplants the need for a backsplash. A wide window with narrow, black-painted mullions sits above the white farmhouse sink, offering a view to the wooded backyard. Cabinets painted a soft gray-blue and topped with soapstone counters complement the stainless-steel appliances and add a touch of color. Upper cabinets are kept to a minimum and painted white to keep the feeling light. Reclaimed barn beam tops the farmhouse table–inspired island, and, above, a trio of lamps with a modern bell-jar shape adds a hint of sparkle.

SO15 blue kitchen

Interior design: Emily Pinney
Architect and builder: Charles Kraus Architects + Builders
—Photography by Ben Gebo

Updating the Classics

The clients wanted their New Hampshire home to be “classic but not overwrought,” explains designer Cecilia Redmond. “They wanted something that nods to the past but is also of this century.” The master bath stands as the perfect illustration of how Redmond fulfilled their hopes. The tub is based on a classic Victorian slipper tub, but has a more modern, clean-lined look. The cabinetry, too, shows traditional influence, but the moldings and hardware take it in a more contemporary direction. The tub and shower are separated by a tall slab of Calacatta marble embellished with a strip of Walker Zanger mosaic that gives the effect of a waterfall of bubbles flowing down to puddle under the tub. Radiant heat in both floors and walls keeps the space toasty even in a long New Hampshire winter.

SO15 white bathroom

SO15 white bathroom

SO15 white bathroom

Architecture: Byron Haynes, Haynes & Garthwaite
Interior design: Cecilia Redmond
Builder: Nick Estes, Estes & Gallup
—Photography by Jim Westphalen

Country Chic

Rustic can be elegant, as this Vermont bathroom, built into a reclaimed barn frame, attests. In designing the space, Ann Shriver Sargent (who was working with DPF Design at the time, and who now co-owns Sargent Design Company and Porte-Cochère) played up the barn theme, making the most of the rough stone wall and exposed ceiling beams. The silo-shaped shower is wrapped in curved glass, a material chosen to keep the focus on the stone, and a floating stone bench extends from the wall into the shower, integrating the two. All the materials are local, including the walnut of the vanity and the Danby marble of the vanity top and the back shower wall. A soaking tub with a faux metal finish tucks into a corner, and a charming Dutch door leads to an outdoor shower and spa.

SO15 rustic bathroom

SO15 rustic bathroom

SO15 rustic bathroom

Interior design: Ann Shriver Sargent
Architectural designer and builder: David Anderson Hill
—Photography by Rob Karosis

Natural Beauty

After years of being used for storage, the second floor of this early-1900s Arts and Crafts home in Needham, Massachusetts, has been reborn as a spacious master suite. The new master bath takes its cue from the architecture of the house, with its emphasis on natural materials. Cedar planking on the ceiling echoes the fir of the flooring, vanity, and tub apron and gives the bath a spa-like feel. Slate-like porcelain was laid on the floor both inside and outside the shower, and the shower walls wear a light-blue penny-round tile. A skylight turns the tub into a place for star-gazing. There are conveniences, like the built-in storage niches and the mirror that reveals a magnifier when a light is switched on. And a sweet blue tuffet at a midcentury modern dressing table offers a feminine touch.

SO15 natural spa-like bathroom

SO15 natural spa-like bathroom

Architecture: Dan Hisel
Builder: Adams + Beasley Associates
—Photography by Eric Roth

In Full Retreat

A Zen-like master bath is just the place to relax away the demands of the day for the parents of three children who live in this suburban Boston home. The focal point of the space is the iroko-wood tub, crafted by Cape Cod boatbuilder Peter Eastman. The tub sits at one end of the long space in front of a tall wall of Ann Sacks slate tile holding a double-sided fireplace that cozies up to both the bath and the bedroom. Porcelain sinks on the matching vanities are a soft echo of the tub’s shape.  A long, slim dressing table near the wife’s sink holds a hidden makeup drawer. For a dose of drama, designer Alison Kripke hung a Bocci chandelier consisting of fourteen single balls at different heights from the high ceiling. •

SO15 Zen bathroom

SO15 Zen bathroom

Interior design: Alison Kripke, Rüme
Architecture: James M. Kelliher, Axiom Architects
Builder: Jay and Paul Gallagher, The Gallagher Group
—Photography Greg Premru; Produced by Karin Lidbeck Brent

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