A Kitchen Goes From Bare-Bones to Cottage-Charming
After a little tinkering overhead, a plain white box becomes a seductive spot for cooking and entertaining
When a space feels uncomfortable, it's not always easy to pinpoint why. To Peggy Sousa, owner of a 1,500-square-foot shingled cottage in East Hampton, New York, it seemed odd that she didn't want to hang out in her kitchen. Everything worked, and a skylight provided plenty of light. But meal prep was no fun. "I just wanted something that was warmer and cozier," she says.
Shown: Sunny painted cabinets and a warm wood island give the kitchen a more traditional feel.
Painted cabinets: Smith River Kitchens
Enter architect Erica Broberg Smith, who quickly diagnosed the problem. "The ceiling was one long diagonal slope," she recalls. "It was too severe and too tall." So Broberg Smith kept the slope with the skylight but added a second one to create a false gable that peaks in the center of the room, yielding a sheltering effect. A soaring 16-foot range-hood duct highlights the room's new symmetry and injects a bit of drama, too. The relaxed setting, finished with vintage-look cabinets and a soft palette, is now Peggy's favorite place to entertain. "When you have a kitchen this beautiful, it motivates you to cook more," she says. "I've made some amazing meals here!"
Shown: White laminate cabinets and countertops had a sterile look.
The island, a piece that homeowner Peggy Sousa had in storage while awaiting her dream kitchen redo, reflects her love of antiques.
Wine cubbies tap a sliver of space between the built-in microwave and the vintage-look glass-front cabinets.
A custom spice rack hangs on the inside of a cabinet door near the range; the shelves are recessed to create a perfect fit.
The 117-square-foot open kitchen lacked warmth.
Homeowner Tip: "Installing beadboard above a small backsplash of countertop material adds a warm look and saves on tile work." —Peggy Sousa, East Hampton, N.Y.
Adding a foot to the sink wall created more counter space. Centering the range on the back wall draws attention to the now-symmetrical vaulted ceiling.
1. Rebuilt the wall without the old pantry bumpout but with a new one, to make the fridge flush.
2. Replaced the two-tier island and its unventilated range with a furniture-style piece, and moved the range to the back wall.
3. Installed a trio of windows over the sink to give the kitchen a more welcoming look along with a better view and more natural light.
4. Extended the sink-wall cabinets and countertop 12 inches toward the dining area to create better proportions and a landing spot for platters and plates.