Fitzgerald spoke to her clients about what they wanted to achieve in the new design. The woman of the house asked for a kitchen that would be a departure from the traditional design she cooks in year-round at her primary residence. The couple’s must haves in the new kitchen were more natural light, space, and lots of storage in expansive contemporary-style cabinets. They also wanted to expand the kitchen and orient the kitchen sink to the water.

Chilmark Contemporary

“To open the kitchen and emit more light, we vaulted the ceiling and added a bank of casement windows that meet at one corner,” notes Fitzgerald. “The ceiling now aligns with the slope of the roof. We retained an existing window on the wall, which now looks into an office. The opening also brings more light into the room.” Another trick to brighten the kitchen was the incorporation of two skylights into the ceiling.

The new kitchen is configured as a large, elongated space with an almost galley-like quality. The dimensions of the original kitchen were about 12 feet by 12 feet. The new kitchen is now 15 feet by 22 feet. Fitzgerald designed the kitchen with almost no upper cabinets. “This keeps the look clean and modern,” she notes.

Designer Christine Dunleavy of Crown Point Cabinetry was instrumental in the kitchen’s innovative, customized cabinet design. “Storage was critical in the new space. The frameless cabinets are made of Beech wood—a renewable wood from Germany,” says Dunleavey from Crown Point’s Claremont, New Hampshire headquarters. “We chose to stain the cabinets a soft cinnamon to create a warm tone.”

The under counter cabinets have pullout drawers for easy access. “These types of drawers are much easier on your back than traditional cabinets,” notes Dunleavy. The pullout drawers offer ample storage for plates, cups, and bowls. The pegs inside the drawers are adjustable so dishes can be held in place easily.

One upper cabinet installed has an elegant, reeded glass door, which adds texture to the space. Crown Point also built a large food pantry and broom closet in cinnamon finished wood like the cabinets to create a sophisticated, streamlined look throughout the space.

For a striking visual component to the kitchen, Fitzgerald chose a wall of one-inch stone mosaic tile in cobblestone red—a variation of rust, orange, and amber—to cover the entire wall above the stove. “This backsplash creates a beautiful work of art in the kitchen,” notes Fitzgerald. The colors of the tile and the cabinets inspired other colors in the open space, such as the upholstery for the large sofa in the living room. The faint rust color is also found running through the granite on the island counter. The granite on the countertops around the perimeter of the island is a plain cream color, so as to not detract from the colors of the tiled backsplash and the cabinets.

Chilmark Contemporary

The homeowner wanted the sink to be oriented toward water views, so the sink was placed in the large island. While standing at the sink, you can get lost in the island’s breathtaking north-shore saltwater panorama. This island takes center stage and doubles as an eating bar—its wooden top is Eucalyptus and is higher than the standard 36-inch countertop to hide pots and pans from view while guests are dining at the table nearby. “The bar accommodates several children when there is an overflow of guests visiting,” notes Fitzgerald. Recessed cans were chosen to light the space. “The owners did not want any hanging pendants that might detract from the view,” notes Fitzgerald.

A steel beam added for structural support was left exposed and painted black to offer an industrial touch. Stainless steel appliances, such as the gas stove and refrigerator, were incorporated also for a contemporary look. A wine cooler and bar sink, placed in the corner of the counter under the casement windows, offer a place to serve drinks from during holiday parties. The couple says they are thrilled with their bright, modern space that welcomes the next generation of family comfortably at their idyllic retreat on Martha’s Vineyard.

For architectural information, call MDF Architects at 508-693-6119. For customized cabinetry information, contact Crown Point Cabinetry at, or call 800-999-4994.

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Nancy Berry is a freelance writer who lives in Yarmouthport.

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