A Kitchen That's No Bigger, But Lots Brighter
A dim, dated space gets a clean sweep with large new windows and white-painted woodwork
Ever wonder what a contractor chooses for his own cook space? One peek inside the home of Seth Churchill, who runs a design-build firm with his brother, Rafe, suggests that when you've seen it all, you may actually want less. The two men had put in countless kitchens before tackling the one Seth shares with his wife, Kelly, and their two young kids. Tucked at the back of an 1890s cottage, in Lakeville, Connecticut, the space hadn't been updated in decades.
Shown: Painted beadboard, open shelves, large new windows, and a ceiling that angles up into attic space make the footprint feel bigger. The island serves as a social spot but also packs a dishwasher and drawers for pots and utensils.
Contractor: Seth Churchill, Churchill Brothers LLC, Sharon, CT; 860-364-5152
Millwork: Tallon Lumber; Herrington's
Cabinetry: Alfred Brown & Son Cabinetry, Bantam, CT; 860-567-7007
Butcher-block island top: John Boos
With Seth as general contractor, Rafe as designer, and Kelly as co-client, the kitchen could have veered toward luxe. But the home's low-key style turned out to be the design's big idea. "Too often, kitchens are overbuilt," says Rafe. "We wanted one that would follow the spirit of the house." The result: simple Shaker cabinets, white-washed beadboard walls, and an island cantilevered to allow guests to pull up an extra stool or two.
Now, says Seth, "the family is there all the time." And no wonder. "We see a lot of kitchens," he notes. "It's refreshing to walk into one that is bright, clean, and crisp."
Shown: Dark finishes and a low ceiling contributed to the downbeat feel.
Simple brackets pair well with the 3½-inch beadboard, which went up piece by piece.
The one-wall kitchen in the 225-square-foot space turned the cook's back to the table.
Pro advice: "Prime beaded boards and give them a coat of paint before installing them. That way, if the wood expands and contracts, you won't see raw wood in between them."
—Seth Churchill, general contractor, Sharon, Conn.
The new U-shape layout, with a 3½-by-6-foot island at its center, is all about function—and socializing.
1. Added a doorway for a more direct connection to the back patio.
2. Installed an island with prep space and a dishwasher steps from the new cooking and cleanup zones.
3. After shifting a window, made a mock hutch with open shelves and base cabinets.
4. Put in large new windows for added light and air in the cooking zone.
5. Built a pantry for staples that otherwise might go in upper cabinets.