The original kitchen in this turn-of-the-20th-century house was a small, cramped space. An updated one that was added in the 1970s wasn’t much better. Although the cooking area adjoined a breakfast nook, it was otherwise closed off from the rest of the house. Plus, a solid wall completely blocked its view of the rear garden.
In the revised layout (part of a larger remodel), architect Robert Miller fixed what ailed the original design—in large part by turning the breakfast area perpendicular. No longer cast as a tandem, sidelong space, it is now an elongated extension of the kitchen, culminating in a U-shaped banquette surrounded by windows overlooking the garden. A long island anchors the culinary work zone, providing a functional surface, as well as a directional element that moves the eye toward the breakfast area and then outside.
Blending elements of old and new, the updated kitchen is fresh and yet respectful of the home’s traditional vernacular. The simple geometry of double-hung windows is echoed in the grid-over-bead ceiling treatment, in the paned French doors on the opposite end of the kitchen, and the stile-and-rail lines of the kitchen cabinets—the upper sections of which extend all the way up, yet feel light and open thanks to glass doors.
Slate countertops and stainless appliances add subtle textures to the palette, but defer to the main accent: a diagonal checkerboard cork floor. It’s an element that’s easy on the feet and further extends those long sight lines to the outdoors.
Entrant/Architect/Kitchen designer: Robert J. Miller III Architect, Maplewood, N.J.Builder: Brinton Brosius, Maplewood