The 2015 CTC&G Innovation in Design Winners: Kitchen

Luxe kitchens wow with reclaimed wood, sound views and family-friendly features

The 2015 CTC&G IDA Kitchen Winner: J.E. Masone Architecture & Design, LLC

Winner: J.E. Masone Architecture & Design, LLC
A Weston renovation returns to its roots

For their first home—a former post-and-beam cottage dating back to the early 1800s—homeowners Kristen and Ryan Scherb needed a kitchen with easy access to their garage/photography studio and views of the property’s historic elements, including an old beech tree and the neighbors’ horse paddocks. Unfortunately, previous additions in the 1930s and ’70s created a rambling layout, so the couple enlisted the help of architect Jennifer E. Masone, who razed part of the most-recent addition, reconfigured interior spaces and added a new kitchen and garage/studio space.

Communication was key to delivering the Scherbs’ dream on their relatively tight budget. “We splurged on items that would either make a big impact or were necessary for function,” Masone explains. Stone slab backsplash matches the kitchen’s marble countertops, while decorative light fixtures add a bit of bling to the space. For the cabinetry, the architect selected full overlay doors (instead of inset) with clean detailing to leave more room in the budget to customize the interiors with high-end organizational features.

To tie in the home’s history, old chestnut beams and posts were salvaged from the renovated spaces to form new openings in the kitchen addition and entry area, and the husband hand-hewed and stained the collar ties himself. Built-in details enhance the space’s utility. For example, a nook that’s hidden from view features full-height open shelves for pantry storage, while hanging pot racks are easily accessible for the wife, a frequent baker and chef. “The space offers fluidity for both cooking and entertaining with great views from every angle,” says Ryan Scherb. “We could not be happier!”

The 2015 CTC&G IDA Kitchen Innovator 2: Mark P. Finlay Architects AIA

Innovator 2: Mark P. Finlay Architects, AIA
From a blank canvas, a series of garden rooms grows and thrives

This Fairfield kitchen wears a lot of hats: family room, homework station, bar, TV area, breakfast nook and, of course, food preparation center. “It’s a family kitchen, so that means the whole family can relax there, watch TV, do homework, etc.,” says architect Mark P. Finlay of this addition to an early 20th-century converted barn. “We wanted to ensure that it was open, comfortable and cozy.” Inspired by Flemish design, this highly adaptable space doesn’t feel like a conventional kitchen. Instead, an open floor plan features several functional zones that come together to create one multipurpose space. A large center island serves as a gathering point, room divider and workspace with a Rohl farmhouse sink incorporated across from the La Canche range. A built-in dish cabinet and refrigerator are adjacent to a pantry for additional food storage. Flanking the island are a breakfast area/media center that houses cabinets for office necessities and comfortable seating by the raised hearth, complete with wet bar storage. Character-grade white oak floors, weathered posts and beams and stucco walls unify the space, while expansive windows invite nature inside. “The simplicity of the materials reflects light in an interesting way,” explains the architect. “My favorite part is the feeling of this kitchen—that’s always my goal, to make a room feel great.”

The 2015 CTC&G IDA Kitchen Innovator 3: Clean Design

Innovator 3: Clean Design
A Westbrook redesign is motivated by its sound location

“Who wouldn’t want to do the dishes while staring out at Long Island Sound?” remarks Clean Design’s Claire Paquin, who redesigned a Westbrook summer home to take advantage of its waterfront setting. Part of a whole-house renovation, the kitchen (which previously faced the street, adorned with avocado and chartreuse greens) was reoriented to be the heart of the home. The designer carefully chose materials that wouldn’t compete with the sights. For the countertops, Paquin selected a white quartz that fades into the background and draws the eye out to the water. The island is topped with stainless steel: “It’s important to have this non-precious, hardworking material in a beach house kitchen,” she says. “The focus should be on having fun and hanging out, rather than cleaning and fussing.” In a neutral palette, a wide array of materials adds interest. White painted lacquer cabinetry is decorated with polished stainless hardware, while windows are painted black to emphasize their large scale. “It helps the windows to actually recede and allows your eye to focus outside,” explains Paquin. Lightly pickled, rift and quarter-sawn white oak floors (one of the designers’ favorite elements) provide depth and subtle contrast to the space. Together with a Carrara marble subway tile backsplash, the materials allow the view beyond to take center stage.