clock menu more-arrow no yes

BEFORE | Memorable Times, Forgettable Finishes

Kimberlee Paige Hanson grew up visiting her grandmother's house in Pittstown, New Jersey, and now calls it her own. An interior designer who specializes in the artful salvaging of old things—"I'm drawn to their age and history," she says—Kimberlee had fond memories of hanging out in the kitchen. But the look was bland 1970s, and she craved elbow room, natural light, and vintage-chic flavor. The small space held great memories and blah finishes.

AFTER | Memories and Salvage Character

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

Backing her up was Darren Nathaniel Irving, a jack-of-all-trades who took down a wall, raised the ceiling, and joined her in using the space as a lab for salvage experiments. "Design does not have to be serious," she says. "I wanted the kitchen to make me smile when I walked in—and it does."

Flea Market Built-In Redo

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

Homeowner-designer Kimberlee Paige Hanson redid an existing hutch-like built-in with paint, tile, and brackets she found at a flea market in just the right blue.

Island and Built-in Tile: Bella Tile

Reclaimed and Vintage Touches

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

The built-in has pine base cabinets finished with reclaimed-wood panels, drawer fronts with lightly sanded blue paint, and vintage door hardware.

Two Sinks for Easier Prep

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

An avid cook and gardener, Kimberlee chose a farmhouse sink and a pro dishwashing faucet to speed produce prep. An island sink handles the overflow.

Main sink: Kohler

Main faucet: Rohl

Island sink and faucet: Lowe's

Range, refrigerator, and dishwasher: Frigidaire

Charming Antique Ceiling Fixtures

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

The ceiling fixtures, including this one over the sink, were finds from the Golden Nugget Antique Market, in Lambertville, New Jersey, and the Brimfield Antique Show, in Brimfield, Massachusetts.

Colorful Dishware on Display

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

Open shelves flanking the sink window are filled with colorful vintage dishware. Kimberlee "aged" the new metal ceiling tile by painting it very pale green.

Metal tile: Lowe's

"Leathered" Granite Countertops

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

Granite countertops were "leathered" for a matte finish. "I wanted it to be like your favorite jeans," says Kimberlee.

Subway tile: Waterworks

Sanded Vintage Cabinets

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

The cabinets get their vintage look from beadboard panels and black and white paint that was brushed on and then sanded. Jewel-like glass knobs add a shot of color.

Pulls, knobs, and numbers on drawers (discontinued): Anthropologie

Handsome Spice Rack

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

A custom walnut spice rack is surrounded by vintage signs unearthed at flea markets at home and abroad.

Spice jars (discontinued): Martha Stewart Collection; Macy's

Salvage Spotted

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

Kimberlee used porch posts for the island supports, finished the sitting-area ceiling with old doors, and framed the view with fanciful trim.

Runner: Dash & Albert

Stools: Overstock.com

Distressed Sitting-Area Look

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

Kimberlee and her partner at Interior Bliss Design, Darren Irving, painted and distressed the sitting-area floor, then sealed it with five coats of polyurethane. The wainscot was once a porch ceiling.

Dog's Eye View

Photo by Andrew Bordwin

Kimberlee's Weimaraner, Nutmeg, finds a strategic surveillance spot a short trot from the cooking zone.

Slipper chairs: ABC Carpet & Home

Floor Plan Before: Closed-in Space

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

The 175-square-foot space was cut off from both the living room and the backyard garden.

Homeowner tip: "It pays to keep your eyes open and to think creatively about repurposing. I'm famous for arriving at dinner parties in New York City with chairs I've found on the street." —Kimberlee Paige Hanson, Pittstown, N.J.

Floor Plan After: Spacious Feel

Floor plan by Ian Worpole

Taking down a wall and removing the dropped ceiling gave the same-size kitchen a more spacious feel.

1. Took out the wall between the kitchen and living room, adding support columns and sistering a ceiling beam.

2. Replaced two small windows over the sink with a single custom picture window.

3. Divided the living room into a sitting area and a mudroom and added light-channeling French doors opening onto a new deck.

4. Installed open shelves between the new support columns, for storage and as a room divider.

5. Added an island with a prep sink and seating for four.