Photo: Eric Piasecki
There's truth to the old saw that you should live in a house for at least a year before embarking on a major renovation. But there's risk as well: Too often that year stretches to several. For Jim and Nadine Bilotta, make that seven. That's how long it took them to tackle the fake-wood cabinets, laminate counters, and vinyl flooring—not to mention the freezer whose in-the-door shelf required a bungee cord to keep items in place—that came with their 1930s house in Mamaroneck, New York. The delay is espe­cially long considering that Jim's family business, Bilotta Kitchens, sells high—end kitchen cabinets. "People would come to the house expecting a gorgeous kitchen," says Jim. "Their jaws would drop in shock."

The kitchen that emerged after a major renovation reflects Nadine's love of cooking and color, and Jim's requirement that it be different from what he saw every day. Working with designer Randy O'Kane, the couple doubled the room's square footage and brightened the space with a palette of green and yel­low. Now there's plenty of room for dinner with their two daughters, 12 and 15, as well as extended family who stop by—both husband and wife come from big Italian families where "everyone has to participate in meal preparation," says Nadine. "It's open, it's friendly, and we can have 22 people in the kitchen without feeling crowded," she says. "I'll never figure out what took us so long."
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