Special Focus: Kitchens from the Summer 2016 Issue of New England Home Connecticut
August 9, 2016
Three kitchens go from miniature to magnificent, thanks to the talents of three Connecticut designers.
Text by Paula M. Bodah
Jan Hiltz laughs when she recalls the initial state of this Darien kitchen. “When you came in the side door, you walked into the side of a refrigerator,” she says. “Once you got around that, you bumped into the island. The kitchen was the size of a postage stamp.” Someone had once put in high ceilings to add a sense of space, but all they seemed to accomplish was to throw the scale off. Hiltz’s first step was to remove the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to open the space. She brought the high ceiling into scale by installing a tall cement range hood with bronze strapping and unifying the wall with a gray subway tile backsplash that extends all the way up. Because the only upper cabinets are the two that flank the hood, Hiltz designed cabinets in the dining area for both storage and good looks. Their antique etched-mirror doors give the space a hint of formality while cleverly hiding pantry goods and small appliances. And throughout the space, a quiet palette lends an airy feel while textures—bamboo window shades, a sisal rug, zebra-print velvet chair cushions, and the delicate Bruna chandelier from Made Goods—offer plenty of interest.
A Family Affair
The family that occupies this Ridgefield home enjoys cooking and baking. Alas, a tiny kitchen made it tough for the parents and their two young sons to satisfy their culinary creativity together. Designer Molly Hirsch solved the problem by poaching from an adjacent small family room and screened porch. The spacious new kitchen has work zones aplenty, from the long counters of honed brown granite to the maple top of the island. The cabinets, by Deane, wear a warm Benjamin Moore color called Brandon Beige, while darker earth tones accent the island base and window frames. The wife loved the Ann Sacks tile chosen for the backsplash, but was worried that it might be a bit too much. “She made color copies and pasted them up,” Hirsch says. “The tile is a big statement for sure, and this process made her feel comfortable with it.” Iron-finished Arctic Pear chandeliers from Ochre add a touch of glamour, “but aren’t at all froufrou,” Hirch says. Pressed-glass bowl pendants from Tom Dixon illuminate the sink without disrupting the view of the backyard and the nature preserve beyond.
A Chef’s Dream
Billy Grant was a bit like the cobbler whose children go barefoot. The award-winning chef owns a handful of popular Connecticut restaurants and a catering business, yet his own home kitchen was woefully inadequate, according to designer Kellie Burke. His 1920s West Hartford home, in a style Burke calls “cottage Tudor,” had many rooms, and all of them were small. “It felt like a little dollhouse,” Burke says. She took down walls in the kitchen, dining room, a bathroom, pantry, and mudroom to create a space any chef would love. Open distressed-wood shelves supported by antique iron fencing keep equipment in easy reach and suit the European farmhouse look Grant wanted. The metal cabinet island is inspired by industrial baking racks, while the white subway tile walls recall the classic working restaurant kitchens in which Grant honed his craft. Metal barstools at one end of the marble-topped island offer a spot for friends to keep the chef company while he cooks. The industrial and European farmhouse tones blend beautifully at the dining end of the space, where the sun shines through cafe curtains made of French linen kitchen towels onto a reclaimed-wood table and metal chairs.
Designer: Kellie Burke, Kellie Burke Interiors
Builder: Michael Delissio Jr., Sunrise Homes
Photography: James R. Salomon