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Family Fun-ctional

A resourceful Osterville homeowner helps an architect and a builder design her multi-generational kitchen.

A resourceful Osterville homeowner helps an architect and a builder design her multi-generational kitchen.

Photo by Dan Cutrona

Imagine a new kitchen that is comfortable, spacious, and user-friendly for adults. Now, picture that same room as a safe, warm, and fun space for eight frequent, energetic visitors—who all happen to be grandchildren.

For Cape Cod builder Scott Peacock and architect Doreve Nicholaeff, much of the inspiration for this large kitchen renovation in a historic Osterville residence came from a great resource: their client, who had an unusually youthful and out-of-the-box imagination.

Prior to the project, the homeowner—a creative and quirky grandmother and former business owner—would often stand in the rear doorway of her home, look out across the yard, and envision what she wanted for the kitchen that would one day occupy that space. She dreamed of Dutch doors leading from a connected kitchen/dining room to a cozy new covered porch outside. She imagined a back-to-back fireplace, providing both the kitchen and a porch with warmth and ambiance. She wanted a unique kitchen island, too, with a sleek sink in the center.

She had other touches in mind as well: from egg-shaped dimples cut into the countertop by the stove, to a knife rack that would recess into the counter so its contents would be both accessible and safely out of a child’s reach. There would be a farmer’s sink, too, and shelves for all sorts of family knickknacks, and the room would be painted yellow and bathed in light from lots of windows.

An artist and a collector of treasures too numerous to list, the homeowner wanted the space to be fun and fanciful—in other words a place where children would love to eat, play, and be a part of all family activities. At one end of the room, a crooked staircase winds up to a small balcony just off the children’s bedrooms. In every corner there are hand-crafted chairs, comfortable couches, and shelves for toys, books, and games; this is a quintessential grandmother’s house, almost like something out of a fairytale.

“The house became a canvas for her,” says Doreve Nicholaeff, AIA, founder of Nicholaeff Architecture and Design in Osterville. “She wanted a generous kitchen. She wanted to be able to look out. We really tried to complement what was there and bring the inside up to date so it would function well.”

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