July 18, 2019
When designer Jenny Madden’s clients purchased a four-story townhome, their intention was to rent the garden level as a separate unit and use the remaining three levels for their own home. This negated the original kitchen and bath locations and layouts on these upper floors and created a unique challenge for Madden, particularly in the kitchen.
Opening Up the Layout
“The kitchen was a critical space as they are talented chefs and hosts,” said Madden, who is the founder of Hoboken, N.J.-based Jenny Madden Design. “I should know – I’ve been a dinner guest, and I’m still salivating over that ceviche!”
Despite the kitchen’s diminutive 13-ft. length, the client requirements included a large blue island and a 48-in. range. Madden reworked the layout to accommodate these using AutoCAD to draw plans and elevations; the architects and consultants her team works with also use AutoCAD, which simplified the process. The new floor plan she designed is central to the main living space and open to the adjacent living and dining areas.
“That openness allows natural light from the front and back of the townhome to reach the kitchen, and the homeowners can appreciate the lovely garden views while working in the kitchen,” said the designer.
She adjusted the location of the range during this process to provide symmetry in the surrounding cabinetry on the main wall. The placement of the island sink was also staggered with the range to ensure that multiple cooks could work simultaneously in the kitchen without being in each other’s way.
Taking Chances with the Island
One of the main features of the new kitchen is the island, which serves as both a highly functional element and an artistic piece. It houses the 36-in. farmhouse sink, a dishwasher, wine storage and a mix of cabinet storage – which per the clients’ request, is painted blue.
The veining in the natural quartzite countertop picks up on the blue-gray tones of the cabinetry below. While the perimeter countertop – also made of quartzite – is the standard 3cm thickness, the island countertop was mitered for a thicker look, which gives it a furniture-like appeal. Large-scale, copper pendant lights accentuate the appeal.
“We took a risk with the lighting above the island,” said Madden. “I hesitated on the pendants being overwhelming, but they were perfect for the high ceilings, and I’m so glad I followed my gut and left them in.”
Creative Thinking in the Bath
The new master bath was formerly a tight and dark space without any natural light, so the designer wanted to make sure to keep it bright, while also avoiding a monochromatic palette.
“To combat the over saturation of all-white Carrara marble bathrooms we see these days, we wanted to inject some rich, darker wood tones in the vanity,” she said. “We also added accent tiles that run along the top border of the walls to reference wainscoting and created a tile rug feature on the bathroom floor.”
This mix of neutral colors and textures generates an upscale look not lacking in personality. The vanity cabinetry is a birch wood in a dark sable stain finish, which contrasts the white marble countertop. This double-sink vanity is dressed up with two decorative mirrors with three wall-mounted sconces between them.
In the shower, the neutral palette is continued with white marble tiles up the walls and a pebble tile floor. A niche for soap and shampoo storage were added, and the designer chose low-iron glass for the shower surround for a truly clear look.
“When using white tiles, we find the low-iron glass is a must,” said Madden “Otherwise the blue-green tint of standard shower glass can really throw off the design intention for a bright and neutral space.”
Designer: Jenny Madden, Jenny Madden Design
Photographer: Marco Ricca
Backsplash Tile: Artistic Tile, Pratt & Larson
Faucet, Sink & Pot Filler: Kohler
Pendant Lights: Visual Comfort
Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler
Sconces: Visual Comfort
Tile: Westfield Tile & Marble