From the February/March 2019 Issue  

In Transition

Writer Meg Fox  |  Photographer Peter Rymwid  |  Designer Peter Salerno, Christine Chianese  |  Builder Walter G. Kosenski II  |  Location Lavallette, NJ  |  Kitchen Design Peter Salerno, CMKBD  |  Built By Walter G. Kosenski II

Timeless Shaker-style cabinetry, a mix of matte and polished surfaces, and a “harmony of shapes” form the layers of detail that contribute to this clean, sophisticated kitchen, kitchen designer Peter Salerno says. The shimmery backsplash has the look of mother-of-pearl without the cost or upkeep, the homeowner notes.

Built with future generations in mind, this kitchen keeps things timeless, clean and uncluttered

Ship-style porthole windows—at the suggestion of Lavallette, New Jersey-based builder Walt Kosenski—add a subtle maritime presence and focal-point composition along the dining room wall. However, the kitchen in this classic coastal home in Lavallette does not say beach house per se, says Peter Salerno, a certified master kitchen and bath designer and owner of Peter Salerno Inc. in Wyckoff, NJ. Clean, sleek and sophisticated, “it almost has a New York City or Miami vibe.”

After narrowing their choices to three kitchen designers, the homeowners were “most impressed by Salerno’s ability to translate their ideas onto paper,” recalls the wife and mother of four young adults. “I knew I wanted a white kitchen with clean lines”—something timeless, functional and beautiful that is “unique and original to us.”
The couple “fell in love with a new line we created called Transitions,” Salerno says. At 11⁄4-inch thick, the cabinet “is not your typical Shaker style,” in part because the thickness of the door allows for more definition on the panel. The finish is between a matte and a semigloss, he adds, “with a little sheen but not too much.”

Finding just the right backsplash was “quite the journey,” the homeowner says. With the chic metal and mirrored hood as a central focus, she didn’t want a tile with too much pattern to distract. At the same time, “it was a large area to cover so I wanted to make a statement without breaking the bank,” she says. Initially she considered a mother-of-pearl tile but found it cost prohibitive. Later, after several visits to tile stores with designer Christine Chianese of Designs by Christine in Toms River, they found just what they were looking for at Porcelanosa in Paramus: Madison Nacar, a tile that “has the shimmer of mother-of-pearl but is much easier to maintain and more cost efficient,” she says.

The countertops are covered in “Summer Storm” quartzite, which has a “calming ocean watery feel” with strokes of blue and a hint of purple, she adds. A 12-foot island anchors the room, and Chianese covered it with a thicker-than-average countertop with a 3-inch ogee/beveled edge. “Otherwise, it would have gotten lost in the open space,” the homeowner says.

The walnut-covered refrigerator and freezer at left provide a visual break from all the white, while the dining area at right is one of the homeowner’s favorite spots.

Designed with the homeowners’ entertaining needs in mind, the island can function as a serving station for a buffet when entertaining, which is why it is one level, not two,” Salerno explains. And the backlit-frosted panels—a feature that wowed his clients in his showroom—can change colors depending on the atmosphere desired. “It’s a unique treatment for a residential kitchen and I love it,” the wife adds.

To break up an expanse of white, Salerno paneled the Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer units in flat, book-matched walnut for an elegant armoire effect. “Covering it with white panels would have been too much of one thing,” he says. Plus, “it would have looked massive and reflected too much light.”

Supplementing the main refrigerator/freezer are two 36-inch Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer drawers disguised behind wood panels. Other amenities, such as dual appliance garages, keep items accessible but out of sight. An adjacent walk-in butler’s pantry—accessible through pocket doors— serves as an extension of the kitchen with extra storage for appliances, dishes, food and more.

“It’s all about simplicity, not about complex lines, arches or ornate details” that would distract from the waterfront views, Salerno says. He cites the clean lines, repetition of form and harmony of shapes that complete the whole from the cabinetry to the molding to the furniture, lighting and other accents. “It’s certainly an asset when everyone works together,” Salerno says, adding that the homeowner was an active part of the process. “It makes for a better project.”
The new kitchen—designed for a quick meal or sit down dinner— suits the family’s lifestyle perfectly. “We can be watching a movie and still be involved with the conversations and activities while prepping or cooking,” the wife says. “Working closely with Peter, Walt and Chris, we came up with a design that we love.”