From the February/March 2023 Issue  

Quest for Contrast

Writer Meg Fox  |  Photographer Nettie Einhorn, Architectural Media Services  |  Designer Alison Nifoussi, Tweak Interiors  |  Location Morganville, NJ

A tonal range of finishes and materials forms a seamless composition in a kitchen designed for modern family living

The off-black-painted island mimics the color of wrought iron, a tone that’s picked up in the textured range hood, pendants and rustic-style hardware, designer Alison Nifoussi says. The countertops and backsplash are covered in polished marble-like quartz for a clean, cohesive feel.

In Morganville, New Jersey, a young couple with two children found their dated 1990s kitchen with no center island ripe for a remodel, recalls interior designer Alison Nifoussi, principal of Tweak Interiors in Little Silver.

“The client wanted a functional, high-end designer look that was modern but still warm and inviting,” Nifoussi says. She was tasked with revamping the kitchen and other spaces in the center-hall traditional home. In the kitchen, plans called for reconfiguring the walls to “square off the space” and make room for a 48-inch refrigerator, walk-in pantry (not shown), center island and more.

While the preference was for white-painted cabinetry in the cooking area, “they were also excited by the idea of adding high contrast,” Nifoussi says. Painting the base of the island in an “off black” shade did just that. So did the custom range hood with its slight sweep design and combination of patinas: a blackened body accentuated with grommeted brass straps.

The stylish bar area doubles as a coffee/tea station. It houses a convenient bar sink, microwave and easy-access beverage refrigerator for the kids. Three walnut display shelves tie in with other warm wood accents. The modern chandelier’s white glass globes “are reminiscent of a bubbly cocktail,” Nifoussi says.

Polished Calacatta quartz covers the countertops and backsplash. “The clients were set on having man-made quartz that they wouldn’t have to stress over or maintain,” Nifoussi says. “We decided to wrap it up the backsplash for a clean and seamless look that acts as a backdrop to the statement hood.”

Reeded-glass upper cabinets “add reflection and provide a visual break from the closed storage,” she adds. The objective “was to take transitional inset Shaker-style cabinets and make them appear more modern.”

In the adjacent high-drama bar/beverage area, which also doubles as a coffee/tea station, reeded glass reappears in the upper and lower cabinets, which were painted in a “soft whisper of beige,” the designer says. The backsplash, composed of handmade black undulated tile, is “sexy, moody and perfect for cocktail hour,” she explains. Not only does the tile offer high contrast to the rest of the light and bright kitchen, “it has fluidity and movement, which reminds me of liquid in a cocktail.” Lighting choices reflect the designer’s love of jewelry-like details. “Statement sculptural lighting over the island and dining table are strikingly different, but their push and pull tie the whole space together.”