This kitchen is rooted in love
This article was written by Julie Craven Wagner and Rachel Ayotte
White Wood Kitchens helps a newly blended family create a kitchen that will cook-up new traditions
Ashley Briggs is an architect. Armed with that professional talent and expertise, she set out to create a new home for her new family on a very special spot overlooking Buzzards Bay. She and her husband had recently married and combined their households to become an active unit of six, and embracing this new adventure started with an almost two-year construction project culminating in a stunning home. Despite being a talented design professional, Briggs turned to White Wood Kitchens in Sandwich to design and manage the kitchen installation.
Influenced by the surrounding environment of her new home, Briggs wanted to acknowledge the natural elements that filled her view as she looked out each day. In the kitchen that meant that the tree trunks—most visible during the colder months, but their presence, behind the wind tickled leaves, still sublimely tall, strong and rooted in the warmer months—were interpreted through the custom paint finish on the cabinetry. Eight-inch-wide engineered oak flooring in the Colonna color by La Palazzina reflects the pools of sunshine that flood through the custom wood architectural windows manufactured by Dynamic Window Company in Canada.
“This is a very special family, one that is embarking on a brand new life together,” says Kathy Hurlburt, lead designer at White Wood Kitchens. “The home is very grand, and everything is within a large scale. The kitchen had to blend with all of the unique elements in the home, yet we had to manage the scale of the design so that it still maintained the comfortable, cozy atmosphere that is meant for a kitchen and entertaining.”
Hurlburt adds that the design centered on bringing the outdoors in. Influences around the house were chosen because of their textures and natural elements. Since every water-facing window frames an idyllic cove or other waterfront scene like fine art, the natural surroundings are re-interpreted throughout the home. Additionally, the strong foundation of the home’s design is an old-world craftsman’s sensibility, like the kind of manor house world sailors and explorers might have returned to after global adventures.
The kitchen shares its space with a comfortable dining area that gathers the family for meals and celebrations. Centered under a spectacular Robert Abbey ‘Bling’ chandelier that dazzles with scores of solid glass bulbs is an eight-foot live edge walnut dining table that comfortably seats eight to ten guests in leather chairs as comfortable as a favorite pair of slippers. Beyond the dining area, buffered by two columned half walls that frame the large comfortable living room, the focus is drawn to a large and impressive fireplace that commands the space. A natural granite ledge, serving as a mantle, anchors a soaring chimney with a stone finish. If Old-World Seaside is a style, Ashley Briggs has certainly interpreted it deftly.
Terrance McGrath, a member of White Wood Kitchens’ team, was instrumental in crafting a kitchen that integrates perfectly within this space by applying a custom paint treatment to the entire suite of cabinetry. And Hurlburt wrangled the design of the cabinetry not only by achieving exactly the right scale, but also by incorporating and integrating a large appliance package. Most of the appliances— two dishwashers, a wine refrigerator, a trash and recycling center, and a massive sink base—were subtly but elegantly integrated within the oversized island, creating a sophisticated, but intimate and highly functional space.
A 42-inch, side-by-side Sub-Zero refrigerator is concealed behind the artistic faux finish of a wall of cabinetry. The old-world touches are subliminally translated through the use of the classic corbels under the bar, topped with a steel-gray granite counter with a leathered finish. As a focal point, a custom hood with a mantle crowns the 48-inch DCS range that centers the entire kitchen. Placed on the mantle is a platter purchased by the Briggs while on holiday on the Amalfi Coast.
“Mark and I were having the trip of a lifetime, and we stumbled upon a potter who would interpret your ‘story’ in their pottery. So every element in that platter has some sort of connection to our life and our family,” she explains.
Briggs also reflects on the effortless and successful collaboration she experienced with White Wood Kitchens. “Kathy Hurlburt was great to work with. She and I communicated well, and she always had a list of options and resources at hand to refer me to for the countless decisions to be made along the way. She suggested I review backsplash options at Best Tile in Plymouth, and it was a great recommendation. Their showroom was extremely organized in a way to not be overwhelming, and it was there I found the marble tile for the backsplash that served as the jumping off point for the design plan.” The mixed-finish, water-jet tile emulates the captivating tidal flow of Wings Cove, seen outside the window of the adjacent breakfast nook. Its classic infinity loop, crafted from subtle stone and glass combinations, is the perfect complement to the Viatera rococo quartz countertops that complete the look above the lower cabinets.
Hurlburt is also quite pleased with the final outcome. “We had planned for everything, and as a result, we didn’t really have any issues,” she reports. “Although this project was more challenging than others, due to the focus and the higher expectation of the custom details, I loved seeing it all come together as we all had envisioned.”
Briggs explains how the finished project is embraced by the whole family. “My daughter is at the age where she is obsessed with making slime, gallons of it, in that kitchen,” she says with a laugh, “but that’s okay. I designed multiple places throughout the house for the kids to hang out and enjoy, but they all seem to want to be [in the kitchen], together, just being a family.”
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