May 30, 2022
A Westchester, N.Y. home was on the market for more than a year because it needed such a serious renovation. But interior designer Erin Coren of Greenwich, Conn.-based Curated Nest could envision the possibilities – including a family-friendly accessible kitchen – so she and her husband bought the 1929 storybook Tudor.
“The kitchen was out of horror movie,”said Coren.“Everything was falling apart. With beige tile, even as clean as it could be, it always felt dirty.”
After they moved in, designer and partner Lina Galvão set about reimagining the space. While most kitchens are designed for adults, Curated Nest emphasizes planning around the whole family. In this kitchen, that meant reconfiguring the layout to make the space easy to use for the Corens and their children.
Reconfiguring for Better Function
The historic layout of the home with closed-off rooms did not lend itself to modern-day living, which more often features an open great room adjacent to the kitchen. Coren recognized that without significant structural changes – not on the agenda – that type of layout would not be possible. However, there were other smaller changes that could make a big difference.
The doorway from the kitchen to the dining room was widened and made into an archway, which visually opened and connected the space, allowing the two areas to be more cohesive with better flow. The kitchen had been set up in a big square with a giant island. Two supporting columns connected a load-bearing beam to the island. The window side of the kitchen was taken up by a banquette that was so awkward it had only one point of egress. While many homeowners would have tried to rework the banquette to make it more useable, Coren and Galvão decided to scrap it altogether.
That decision gave them a lot more space to work with, and the former banquette became home to cabinetry, a dishwasher and the main sink, which now offers a view out the window. To make up for the lost seating, they incorporated a new island with family-friendly barstools that also provides workspace and accessible kitchen storage.
“The original layout attempted to include an eat-in kitchen and an island, but neither was working,” said Coren. “The goal was to streamline those, so we got rid of the banquette and created a really big island. My family can eat there and still have a dining room for casual or formal dining.”
The columns were removed, and a bigger beam was installed to support the ceiling. The designers wrapped it in wood to make it a feature, and it relates to beams in other areas of the house, including the dining room, which can be seen through the archway.
“One of the values of working with a designer is that we provide out-of-the-box thinking about how to redesign and realign,”said Galvão.
Originally, the entry door opened directly to the kitchen, so it became an unintentional drop zone, and the washer/dryer sat in the kitchen. For better functionality, the designers added storage and created a mudroom/laundry room in the space between the entry and kitchen.
Accessible Kitchen for Adults and Children
With the new layout, there is more space and no crowded traffic flow. The kitchen works well for adults because when cooking, everything is close at hand – cabinets, spice rack and prep sink. The real cleaning area – larger sink and dishwasher – are out of the way on the other side of the island.
The central island provides a space for the family to be together, whether it’s for eating or doing homework while a parent is working on a laptop or cooking. The low cabinets and drawers are easy for children to reach. In fact, all cabinets in the kitchen are low, other than one glass cabinet on the sink wall, which works well for Coren too, who is petite. Two shelves on the rang wall offer space for decorative items.
“A kitchen doesn’t need cabinets anywhere you can fit them,” said Coren. “It’s nice to have open shelves where you can add décor. It makes you want to be in the room more.”
The refrigerator has a pressure seal, so young children cannot access it. Instead, there is a beverage center with snacks and water. The Curated Nest focus on designing around the whole family also aims to foster independence in children.
Stylish with a Family
Lightening the heavy Tudor style of the home gave the designers a challenge. The use of a bright, neutral color palette helped bring in airiness and throw light around the room, according to Galvão. To further enhance the aesthetics, they added a furniture look to the cabinets and range with custom leg-like pieces instead of a standard toe kick that makes the cabinetry feel like it is floating. A vintage-inspired Italian range is a showpiece with eight burners and a griddle. Its black-and-brass finishes stand out against the white cabinets.
Yet the stylish nature of the space was created with materials that are durable enough for use by adults and kids alike. The countertops are quartz, while the eye-catching sink by the window is stainless steel with a scratch-resistant brass finish. Because the backsplash is not an area that suffers from use, the designers were able to choose a luxurious Calacatta gold marble in a chevron pattern, which Galvão says is a decorative aspect that mimics other rooms in their home.
“Our big thing is livable luxury,” said Coren. “You can have nice things and make them look very high end by using materials that will hold up to day-to-day life and family.”
Before beginning a kitchen renovation, the Curated Nest team considers how clients will use the space and design based on their lifestyle and preferences. As this accessible kitchen illustrates, when designers keep the daily lives of their clients top of mind, it is possible to provide functionality and style for all ages.
Designers: Erin Coren, ASID, CID & Lina Galvão of Curated Nest
Photographer: Kyle J. Caldwell
Backsplash: Artistic Tile
Bar Stools & Shelves: Wayfair
Beverage Cooler: Summit
Countertop: Cambria Quartz
Cabinet Paint: Benjamin Moore
Cabinet Hardware: Rejuvenation
Cabinets & Hood: Cliq Cabinetry
Coffee Machine: Miele
Dishwasher: Fisher & Paykel
Faucets: Signature Hardware
Flooring: Manko Home Improvement
Lighting: Rejuvenation, Lucent Lightshop
Sinks: Alfi & Whitehaus