July 22, 2013

Two cooks, two dogs and three children in one kitchen make for an in-home traffic jam. For a Darien, Conn., family, this traffic was a primary reason for the redesign. “People would always be going into the path where [the owner] was working,” said designer Gianna Santoro of Deane, Inc. “It was important to create a free-flowing sense of direction to remove the feeling of congestion.”

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In the former kitchen, people came through the mudroom and walked through the main kitchen and the owner’s office space. “She was always going back and forth, and everyone was in the way,” commented Santoro. To alleviate the congestion, Santoro flipped the layout. “We moved all of the working part of the kitchen and where she was prepping to the same side of the room,” explained Santoro.

Two stoves and an island provide extra prep space for the cooking couple. Across the range, a walnut butcher block adorns the island and complements the rest of the concrete counter. “The space that would be more heavily used was more stain resistant,” says Santoro. A honed white marble lines the perimeter underneath taupe, paint-grade maple cabinets.

These lighter tones are a sharp contrast to the previous cherry wood cabinets. “It made the room seem smaller and darker, so we lightened it up,” commented Santoro. “She didn’t want a white kitchen. We did a taupe color, so it was still light but wasn’t stark.”

An exposed brick wall provided the neutral inspiration. “One thing we did work around for color was the fireplace,” said Santoro. Backing the living room fireplace, the wall was kept exposed for its color and texture. “There’s not a ton of color in the kitchen, but a lot of varying textures like that makes it really very interesting,” said Santoro. A mixed-stone, neutral backsplash and the driftwood finish on the brushed oak island and banquette also break up the room.

Replacing a former closet, the banquette gives the owners both additional seating and storage. White leather stools and a peninsula help redirect traffic. “People like to gather around a peninsula,” said Santoro. “It serves to keep guests out of your working space.” The previous office space received its own area with a custom desk for easy storage and a style matching the transitional kitchen.

“She’s able to seat a lot of people in this space,” explained Santoro. “It was a goal to have the family together.”

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