August 7, 2015
Despite a growing trend toward rustic-chic design, one family in Lower Gwynedd, Penn., opted to scrap their Tuscan-inspired aesthetic in favor of new-traditional charm. They called upon Philadelphia–based Shophouse founding partners Betsy Helm and Kiley Baun, with Hanson General Contracting, to reinvigorate their 2004 home.
Change of Plans
Originally, the property was built and laid out to entertain friends and family, but with the introduction of three children, priorities had since changed.
“They really let us take the reins, but we all knew the overall feel we were going for,” said Helm. “This home was to be designed around family life, and we wanted the kitchen to be a real showpiece.”
A series of bars and butler’s pantries offered creative opportunity to the designers, who converted one into a command center and adorned another with floating shelves and marble tops. A hall closet was additionally repurposed as an expansive, floor-to-ceiling mudroom to accommodate a family on the go.
Light and Bright
Though the kitchen formerly featured ornate Tuscan elements that overpowered the space, the overall layout was spacious and required little architectural alterations to make it shine. This same open floor plan, however, also presented a challenge.
“All of the spaces ran together, with each wall curving into the next room,” explained Baun. “There was really no good stopping point for paint.”
Rather than fight against structural constraints, the designers chose to embrace the continuously flowing set up with a fresh white wall color that created a unifying backdrop for the kitchen’s large, pre-existing windows and soaring ceilings.
The same dark wood flooring was also installed throughout the home’s first and second floors to tie it all together and contrast with the rest of the kitchen’s new white woodwork.
“We set out to create a very calming, almost ethereal space, with lots of tonal materials and textures,” explained Baun. “We work with an amazing woodworker, who made our design come to life with truly remarkable craftsmanship.”
A bright and airy envelope was formed with paper-white cabinetry – custom made for a bespoke appeal – that was extended from counter to ceiling around the stove. All built-ins and wood trim were painted the same hue and juxtaposed by white quartzite marble countertops with a hint of gray veining. Previously octagonal, the island mirrors the counters and features wooden, bar-height chairs, which highlight the quartzite top’s gray tones.
“We really love clean lines, so we chose to redesign the island into a large rectangle to include more seating and prep area,” said Baun.
To engender warmth in the clean space, abundant new lighting was added to the glass-fronted cabinets, under the floating shelves and over the island with three suspended fixtures. The majority of the light fixtures and all of the new hardware is comprised of polished nickel to complement the color palette.
“It’s not as cold as chrome but still has a great warm sparkle to it,” said Helm. “By paying attention to detail, we really achieved that light, bright dream kitchen.”
Designer: Betsy Helm and Kiley Baun, Shophouse
Contractor: Hanson General Contracting
Photographer: Kyle Born Photography
Kitchen Counters: White Fantasy Quartzite from Colonial Marble and Granite
Cabinets: Custom, the Philadelphia Woodworking Co.
Lighting (above island): Restoration Hardware Harmon Pendant
Lighting (above kitchen table): Venetian Chandelier by Eric Cohler for Circa Lighting
Furniture: Restoration Hardware
Photography: Kyle Born Photography
Faucet: Perrin and Rowe
Refigerator: Sub Zero