From the August/September 2017 Issue

Beauty + Function

Writer Ren Miller  |  Photographer Wing Wong  |  Designer Karla Trincanello, NJCID, Allied ASID  |  Location Far Hills, NJ
  • A post-and-lintel architectural feature in dark wood outlines the cooking alcove in this redesigned Far Hills kitchen. The stainless steel exhaust hood is sheathed wider than the range top to balance the post-and-lintel feature. The island’s waterfall countertop and the alcove backsplash create a striking contemporary mood in marble-look quartz. The renovation eliminated a laundry room and back staircase.

  • On the opposite side of the kitchen from the alcove, the designer placed wall ovens, a coffee station and cabinets with glass fronts that are back-painted to conceal kitchen accouterments and create a clean-lined modern look. She also widened the opening into the dining room.

  • BEFORE: The original space--used as a breakfast area--was dated and uninspired. (See after photo, next.)

  • AFTER: The breakfast area became a sitting room where the homeowners can relax, watch television and entertain guests while preparing meals. The cocktail table rises and expands into a dining table when the owners invite guests for informal meals. Windows in the angled ceiling were removed and the other windows were replaced with UV-tinted versions to create a more comfortable atmosphere.

A much-needed renovation turns a Far Hills kitchen into a contemporary hub of the home.

The Carefree House explores attractive, durable home materials requiring low or no upkeep. This issue focuses on countertops.

A 1970s Far Hills, New Jersey home was showing its age until the homeowners turned to designer Karla Trincanello for help. The age was particularly noticeable in the kitchen/breakfast area, which didn’t serve the needs of the empty-nester owners, says Trincanello, a state-certified interior designer, allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner of Interior Decisions Inc. in Florham Park, NJ.

For that reason, Trincanello began her whole-house transformation in the kitchen. “The clients desired a contemporary look with clean lines,” she says, “and they specifically requested a mixture of interesting materials.” They also wanted more space and upgraded appliances.

Architect Arturo Palombo in Chester and builder Ken Norton of Norcon Development in Succasunna gave Trincanello a clean slate—and more space—by removing an adjacent laundry room and circular back staircase. She took advantage of the space by creating a focal point alcove for the cooktop and exhaust hood surrounded by cabinetry. The alcove is outlined with a dark wood post-and-lintel architectural feature that draws the eye to the wall.

The backsplash behind the range top is elegant white quartz with soft gray marbling, and the cabinets here and on the perpendicular wall are a light gray laminate with a subtle vertical grain pattern. The upper cabinets are topped by 15-inch-high painted glass-front cabinets, adding a different finish and texture. The painting on the inside of the glass fronts conceals items not used on a regular basis.

The island itself is another focal point thanks to its size—9 feet by 4½ feet—and an eye-catching waterfall countertop, where the same marble-look quartz on the top extends down the sides for a contemporary look. The island cabinetry is a taupe laminate with the grain going horizontally for a different textural look. The owners use the countertop for workspace and informal dining. It also houses a beverage refrigerator, freezer drawer, microwave drawer and wide storage drawers.

The perimeter countertops and backsplash are also quartz, this time in solid gray to keep the focus on the cabinetry and textures, Trincanello says. She specified all cabinetry as wide drawers with the exception of a tall cabinet next to the refrigerator and the pantry cabinet. “Drawers are more convenient [than having to reach into cabinets],” she says. And the chrome hardware pulls add to the contemporary styling of the kitchen.”

A new open butler’s pantry area offers additional storage, space for making coffee and a place to service the adjacent formal dining room.

“The clients selected high-end appliances based on their state-of-the-art functions,” Trincanello notes. She placed the 36-inch range top and hood in the alcove so they are convenient to the island. Completing the kitchen work area are a French-door refrigerator, stainless steel sink and dishwasher on the perpendicular wall. All of the appliances except for double wall ovens and the microwave in the island are paneled like the cabinets for a clean-lined look, the designer says.

Two nickel-finished lanterns—without glass for easy cleaning—illuminate the island. The room also includes recessed and under-cabinet task lighting.

The homeowners enjoy casual meals at the island and formal meals in the dining room adjacent to the kitchen, so they decided the breakfast area would be more useful as a sitting room. They envisioned a space where they could lounge, read the newspaper, watch the morning news on television and chat with guests while preparing dinner. Trincanello took all of their needs into consideration and specified a 30-by-36-inch cocktail table that raises and expands to a 36-by-60-inch dining table for use when the owners invite guests for an informal meal. She chose a small sectional where the owners can sit or stretch out when relaxing or use as a banquette when the cocktail table is transformed into a dining table.

The ceiling in this space is angled and originally had windows that extended into the angled ceiling; they absorbed the hot afternoon sun and made sitting in the area unbearable, Trincanello says. She had the ceiling windows removed and replaced the others with UV-tinted windows, creating the comfortable spot for the owners to enjoy.