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As Simple as Black and White

Kitchen designed by Irina MacPhee

The pendant lights over the island are evocative of antique glass insulators, or perhaps the famous Fresnel lenses found in lighthouses along the coast.

“Eveline had a specific vision,” Steve says. “She and Irina were able to communicate on various points quite well. They really developed an easy and effective connection.” That specific vision was rooted in a simple aesthetic that was revealed through white shaker cabinetry, long runs of naturally dark soapstone counters, a soapstone farmhouse sink, and sleek, functional appliances. Add the natural light that floods the space, a neutral gray palette on the walls, including a mini-subway mosaic tile backsplash in a classic Carrera marble, and minimal accessories, this heart of the home shares its space with the rest of the open floor plan like a quiet and trusted servant.

MacPhee adjusted the floor plan to seamlessly open the space to the adjacent living area. Functional changes included adding a third skylight in order to center them over the sink and between the cabinetry. In the process, inadequate roofing and waterproofing were addressed to ensure a worry-free future. A low, out-of-code bulkhead on a staircase that leads to the second floor caused people to duck as they ascended. MacPhee resolved the situation easily, and as a bonus, her keen eye for design suggested a simple paint application to quickly transform the railing’s dated millwork into a more modern presentation.

One of the most subtle, yet memorable, elements MacPhee incorporated involved extending the soapstone countertop around the sink past the standard point of installation. “One thing I always love to do is extend the stone all the way to the sash of the window. It gives a clean, frameless look, but more importantly gives a feeling of spaciousness and keeps the water that would normally splash from the sink contained in a better environment than millwork,” MacPhee explains. One of the more important considerations that must be resolved in this scenario is how to deal with the electrical needs in the surrounding area. “I use a pop-up electrical outlet that recesses into the stone counters,” she says. “Clients and their guests love the whizz-bang nature of them, but honestly, it is such a smart solution. It hides the ugly outlets, it is water-safe, and it works perfectly.”

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