May 29, 2023
Engaged to create a sustainable kitchen in an older home, Patricia Gaylor of New Jersey-based Patricia Gaylor Interior Design, knew she had her work cut out for her. The 1960s home was a gut renovation, so it had to be demolished and re-built prior to doing any finish work. There were a lot of challenges and changes, and communication between contractor, subs and homeowner was essential.
And there was one other factor: The project was located a thousand miles away, in Florida.
Making a Modern and Sustainable Kitchen
The clients’ goals were to create a livable open floor plan with enough space for a large extended family to gather. They favored a sleek look, with mid-century modern accents. For colors, they wanted a neutral palette throughout, with small bursts of color and pattern. The home is situated on a lake, with nice views through the all-glass back wall. Beyond the interior work, Gaylor was charged with adding an outdoor screened-in patio and barbecue grill station that included a pizza oven.
Because the clients were sustainably minded, they wanted to use local products to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. As well, they looked to up-cycle mid-century furniture pieces from antique stores. They were also very focused on using products made in the US. Gaynor sourced many products locally, both to minimize transportation and out of necessity, since pandemic travel restrictions precluded regular site visits. The cabinetry for the sustainable kitchen was built by a local carpenter firm – which saved time, as they could do field measurements as needed.
“We decided to try to change up the white cabinets a bit by including a more modern door profile, and adding a textured oak finish in a charcoal paint to the black china cabinet and the island,” said Gaylor. “I love the way the deep charcoal has a lot of graining against the smooth white doors.”
The designer combined two countertop materials in the kitchen to add a sense of dimension to the surface. A geometric-patterned upholstery on the stools enhanced the modern look. The homeowners picked out the fabric and had some old stools re-upholstered – another salvage strategy intended to save both money and the planet.
The clients decided to reduce the size of the original pantry and create a wine closet from the reclaimed space. To avoid sending any extra materials to a landfill, the wood planking in the wine closet is reclaimed flooring from other parts of the house.
Rising to Remote Work Challenges
“This was my first fully remote job,” said Gaylor. “Everything was done online. I did make two short site visits. It was very difficult to do this high form of custom work remotely. Staying in constant contact with the builder and cabinet maker were essential. I chose local showrooms for my client to visit to make selections for materials. We followed a design aesthetic that I created through design boards and samples, and ordered most materials locally.”
Working remotely was a necessary evil, as the project spanned the Covid shut downs. It was good in that regard, the designer says, as the project was kept moving. But it was bad regarding not having full control over a project of this scale.
“It probably isn’t the best business model to do a remote design on such an intensely custom job,” said Gaylor. “There were just too many hours. I would do it again but would charge on an hourly basis.”
—By Leslie Clagett, KBB Managing Editor
Designer: Patricia Gaylor Interior Design
Photography: Cechman’s Photo & Video
Builder: Southern Traditions Development
Backsplash: Specialty Tile
Cabinets: Commerce Court Cabinetry
Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs
Cooktop, Dishwasher, Double Ovens, Refrigerator, Warming Drawer: Thermador
Lighting: Hubbardton Forge
Vent Hood: Custom
Wine Refrigerator: Vinotemp