Her next big decision was to remove the sink wall to open the kitchen to a new family room addition. Warm maple flooring would unite the rooms. Penzenik's first suggestion was a pair of half-walls to delineate the spaces but preserve open sight lines. Eileen had different ideas, presenting Penzenik with her rendition of the kitchen hutch. Penzenik, with fond memories of her own grandmother's stenciled hutch, was intrigued. And as the two women talked, they hit on the idea of a hutch with an unusual twist: With cupboards opening on both sides, it could serve as a room divider while adding back the storage that was sacrificed when the old sink wall—and its cabinets—came down.
Reclaimed white oak planks and beadboard help make the newly built piece look old. "It's resawn from timbers that were inside an old barn," says Marc Poirier of Longleaf Lumber, supplier of the oak. "Exposure to the elements gives the wood its character." Architect Martha Penzenik designed the hutch, giving it furniture-style feet, shelf brackets, and bronze hardware. It is capped by a cornice that sits level with the casing on the sides of the open wall that frames it, giving both a finished, cohesive look.