When Chris Wolfe, executive producer at Ask This Old House
TV, and his wife, Kate, moved into their 1937 Colonial Revival, in Arlington, Massachusetts, they had a mental image of their ideal kitchen. "One of Chris's first projects for TOH
TV had Shaker cabinets, painted a soft green," Kate recalls. "We both said, 'Wow, we love this kitchen!' " The one they inherited, in contrast, had 1970s brick-veneer walls and beige vinyl flooring, and doors and windows in all the wrong places. After putting any thoughts of a redo on hold long enough to get to know the house, the couple brought in designer Ingrid Nunez. In his role as producer, Chris had helped plenty of homeowners wrestle with pipes, beams, and subflooring, so he made the infrastructure his top priority, choosing a top-notch contractor, Skip Miller, to troubleshoot the process. Guided by a desire to "respect the feeling of the house," as Chris puts it, the couple chose flat-panel cabinets, honed black granite countertops with the look of soapstone, and a classic white subway-tile backsplash. The result—one part period style, three parts contemporary function—involved months of tricky engineering, with slight tweaks to the footprint, to make everything fit. But it paid off, says Chris: "We're really happy with the way it all worked out."
Chris and Kate gather with their daughters in the new kitchen, with cabinets in just the right green.
Ingrid Nuñez, Lexington, MA; 617-538-9273General contractor: American Dreamwrights
, Lincoln, MAPainting contractor: Mauro's Painting
, Somerville, MAPaint: Benjamin Moore
's High Park (cabinets), Moonshine (walls)Electrical: Caron Electric
, Lexington, MA