From the December/January 2014 Issue:

Keeping up with the Kitchen

    Writer: Robin Amster | Photographer: Peter Rymwid | Interior Designer: Karla Trincanello, CID, Allied Member ASID |

After redoing their kitchen, a Warren couple go for a more wide-ranging renovation

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enlarge | The Tuscan-inspired kitchen contains a new Wolf commercial-style range topped by a limestone backsplash and hood. It provides a focal point and meets the husband’s requirement for serious cooking equipment. Designer Karla Trincanello made space for the new range by extending a wall that had held a double oven into a wide space that led to the laundry and garage. In the remaining space she created an arched doorway to a new vestibule leading to the laundry and garage.
“Originally it was all about the kitchen,” designer Karla Trincanello says of her renovation of a spacious colonial-style home in Warren. But the contrast between the dazzling new kitchen with European flare and the adjoining family room proved too stark for the homeowners, so they asked the designer to update that space also.

“While you’re at it, do the powder room,” she recalls them saying. “Then they asked what I could do in the foyer. And once the foyer was done, we did the living room and dining room.” Before it was over, she also had transformed the library, upper hall, master bedroom, sitting room and master bathroom.

It’s not an unusual progression, says Trincanello, a state-certified interior designer, allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner of Florham Park-based Interior Decisions. “The homeowners realized that having a beautiful kitchen alongside a family room that’s not as beautiful wasn’t a great idea,” she says. “The same with the new foyer, which made the living and dining room look dull.

“I never push anyone to do more than they ask me to do,” Trincanello says. “But once we start with one area and the clients are pleased [with that], it’s like having a brand new shoe on the right leg and an old one on the left.”

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enlarge | The renovated breakfast area features a carved dining table surrounded by a marble floor border in the same shape as the ceiling. Woven fiber shades adorn the windows.
When called in to redesign the kitchen, Trincanello found an outdated space woefully inadequate for the husband. Over the years this hard-working homeowner has devoted more and more time on weekends to cooking for family and friends. Not only is it one of his interests, he finds it a great way to relax.

The existing kitchen had a 30-inch cooktop located on a center island plus double ovens on a wall to the left of the island. Given the cooktop’s location on the island, the husband didn’t have enough space for prep work or to lay out goodies for friends and family to socialize while he cooks. The homeowners also wanted an eat-in space less formal than their dining room.

A trip to Tuscany sparked the couples’ idea for a Tuscan-style country kitchen. But all they expected, in addition to a new style, was the same layout with updated appliances.

Trincanello, however, noted that while the kitchen was quite large, it had tight spots. When people were seated on stools at the island, other guests had trouble getting around them. A wall housing a storage pantry and butler counter near the entrance to the dining room also created a bottleneck when there were guests.

The designer proposed a new layout to solve these problems, create a more functional cooking space and provide more storage and another service area. First, she extended the wall that had held the double ovens into a six-foot wide hallway that led to the laundry and garage. On this wall she placed a 36-inch commercial-style range topped by a limestone backsplash and hood.

Then in the remaining space, Trincanello created an arched doorway for a new rear vestibule to the laundry and garage. A few steps from the new range, she added a convection oven, electric oven and warming drawer on the wall where the refrigerator is located.

She also removed the wall near the dining room that housed a storage pantry and butler counter and replaced it with an open “butler area.” It provides an alternate service area for the dining room and contains a large custom hutch for display and storage along with a beverage refrigerator, icemaker, built-in coffeemaker, bar sink and dishwasher drawer under the sink.

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enlarge | The kitchen opens to the family room, where two sofas in different styles provide a comfortable European look. Two leather chairs provide additional seating, and a large cocktail table topped by leather padding is a good place to rest feet while watching television. Trincanello removed a window beside a narrow fireplace to allow room for enlarging the fireplace and adding a built-in bookcase. On the other side of the fireplace, she designed an arched entryway to the library to coordinate with the arched bookcase.
Taking a Cue
Trincanello’s design of the rest of the home took its cue from the new kitchen.“ The owners wanted a Tuscan country look but nothing very formal,” she says.

The walls of the family room—part of the open plan with the adjacent kitchen—are painted a rich rust color that coordinates with the kitchen’s warm Tuscan gold. To create a European look, Trincanello used two sofas in different styles: an angled upholstered sofa in an olive green, rust and gold paisley and a wood-framed sofa with rust cushions.

She made some structural changes in this space as well. The room had a narrow fireplace between the entrance to the library and a window. Removing the window enabled her to enlarge the fireplace and fashion a built-in arched bookcase beside it. To match the bookcase, she designed an arched doorway to the library on the other side of the fireplace. The fireplace, bookshelf and library doorway are all stained warm walnut. Despite the loss of one window, the room still has ample natural light thanks to two other large windows and French doors leading to an outside deck.

At the homeowners’ request, Trincanello incorporated their existing drapery, carpet and cocktail table with some new furnishings in the living room. She did add to the drapery with silk panels beneath tasseled jabots for a more elegant look. The sofas are a classic transitional style in pale putty velvet. Two ebony-finished wood-frame chairs with floral cushions provide a slightly bold accent. Trincanello filled a large expanse of light olive green wall with a collection of lovely mini-landscapes in similar frames centered by a square mirror she placed on a diagonal.

Trincanello carried the theme to the other rooms also, adding molding and painting the walls and ceiling gold and olive in the dining room, faux painting white shelving to look like wood in the library, and adding warms shades of butterscotch with olive and rust accents in the master bedroom and adjoining sitting area.

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enlarge | The owners’ leather bed—softened by a crescent-shaped ottoman at its foot—anchors the master bedroom. Their chair and ottoman near the window were reuphol­stered. After seeing what Karla Trincanello had done with ceilings on the first floor, the clients agreed to her plan to add molding to the bedroom walls and tray ceiling.
Looking Up
Trincanello firmly believes in taking ceilings into account in her design schemes. “I feel very strongly the ceiling is part of the space to be designed,” she says. “I don’t paint a ceiling white unless it’s a [homeowner’s] request. The ceiling should feel a part of the room and not be a separate entity, so I always show a client how they can enhance a room.”

Her treatment is very much in evidence throughout the home. In the kitchen she designed two recesses with rustic beams, one over the dining area and another over the island. The ceiling height was over nine feet so she dropped a perimeter ceiling of seven feet and left the recessed areas at the original height. The new ceiling helped establish the Tuscan style of the space.

The living room also presented a prime opportunity. Here the nine-foot ceiling cast a vast amount of empty white space over the room. In its place, Trincanello designed coffered beams painted a slightly deeper shade of olive green than the walls and added a light fixture at the center.

Even the master bedroom got a special touch, with Trincanello creating a custom molding design for the tray ceiling.

Robin Amster is a Madison-based writer and editor.


Foyer: interior design, Interior Decisions Inc. in Florham Park. Foyer: wall panel design and accessories, Interior Decisions Inc.; millwork and flooring supply and installation, Filipe Custom Woodwork in Linden; ottoman, Sherrill Furniture in Hickory, North Carolina. Kitchen and Breakfast Area: renovation and cabinetry design, Interior Decisions Inc.; custom cabinetry, millwork, limestone flooring installation, Filipe Custom Woodwork; perimeter countertops, Everest Marble in Clifton; dining table and island bar stools, Bausman Furniture in Ontario, California; dining chairs, Century Furniture in Hickory, North Carolina; island lights, Visual Comfort in New York City; art and accessories, Interior Decisions; stone hood and backsplash, Francois and Co. in Atlanta; appliances, Sub-Zero refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawer, Miele built-in coffee maker, KitchenAid beverage/wine cooler and Wolf range, double wall ovens and warming drawer. Family Room: fireplace and wall design, Interior Decisions Inc.; fireplace construction, custom cabinetry, millwork fabrication and installation, Filipe Custom Woodwork; fireplace marble, Everest Marble; sofas, Sherrill Furniture; leather recliners, Motion Craft Furniture in Morganton, North Carolina; leather cocktail table, Century Furniture; window drapery, Robert Allen Fabrics in New York City; drapery fabrication, Nancy’s Draperies in Boonton (T). Living Room: ceiling fabrication and installation, Filipe Custom Woodwork; sofa, loveseat and chairs, Sherrill Furniture; lamps and accessories, Interior Decisions Inc.; art, Karen Matte in Madison. Dining Room: ceiling fabrication, Filipe Custom Woodwork; sconces, Interior Decisions. Library: faux wood painting, Filipe Custom Woodwork; accessories, Interior Decisions Inc. Powder Room: wood mirror frame, vanity chest, vessel sink, limestone floor, supply and installation, Filipe Custom Woodwork; sconces, Interior Decisions Inc.; ottoman and fabric, Sherrill Furniture. Second-Floor Landing: sconces, Interior Decisions Inc., benches and fabric, Maitland-Smith Furniture in High Point, North Carolina. Master Bedroom: wall molding design, Interior Decisions Inc.; millwork fabrication and installation, fireplace faux wood painting, Filipe Custom Woodwork; night tables, Century Furniture and Lexington Furniture in Thomasville, North Carolina; table lamps, John-Richard in Greenwood, Mississippi; crescent bench, J. Design & Decorating in Linden; chandelier, Visual Comfort; accessories, John-Richard. Master Sitting Area: side table, French Heritage in High Point, North Carolina; lantern fixture, Visual Comfort; lamps and shutters, Interior Decisions Inc. Master Bathroom: ceiling and wall design, shower and floor design, cabinetry design, chandelier, shutters and accessories, Interior Decisions Inc.; construction and installation, cabinetry fabrication, custom tile supply and installation, Filipe Custom Woodwork; sconces, Visual Comfort; free-standing tub, Acryline in Lyster, Canada; vessel sinks, Signature Hardware in Erlanger, Kentucky. T=To the Trade.

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