A Practical, Homey Kitchen in Newton

Cutting Edge Homes created a lived-in feel with a breakfast nook, butcher-block countertops, and a wet bar.

Photo by Patrick O’Malley

For two avid cooks in Newton, a kitchen outfitted with Corian countertops, cheap cabinetry, and a misplaced laundry area was anything but ideal. So the homeowners brought in Ashland-based Cutting Edge Homes to help give it a facelift. “It was a dated, Home Depot–level kitchen,” recalls president Sean Cutting, whose team kicked off the renovation by gutting the 350-square-foot space. To organize the couple’s cooking supplies, the crew utilized custom cabinetry boasting plenty of storage for herbs and spices. The quartzite-topped island in the center of the room, meanwhile, provides a spacious area for the wife to prep restaurant-worthy meals. And because a built-in wet bar and breakfast nook replaced the kitchen’s laundry zone, relocated to the second floor, the husband now has a place to stir up cocktails. “Every inch of the [bar] cabinetry was planned out meticulously to fit his shaker collection,” senior designer Marissa Santos says.

As for the aesthetic, the wife craved a lived-in feel with a pop of color: In other words, she didn’t want “just a clean, pretty kitchen,” Santos says. The team treated the nook, trim, and cabinetry to splashes of green that recall the hue of Julia Child’s iconic kitchen, the designer adds. And like the world-famous chef, the homeowners aren’t afraid to leave appliances, utensils, and other knickknacks on display. “Nothing’s too precious,” Santos says. This design ethos even inspired the butcher-block walnut countertops (meant to withstand frequent food prep) and the open shelves that showcase cookbooks and barware. “Not everything had to be a feature,” Santos explains. “The overall kitchen just had to feel great.”

Photo by Patrick O’Malley

Photo by Patrick O’Malley

Photo by Patrick O’Malley


Appliances Hood, Thermador range, and KitchenAid Refrigerators, all Yale Appliance.
Backsplash The Winchester Tile Company “Linen” ceramic field tile, Tiles Plus More.
Countertops Walnut, Sprague Woodworking.
Island Countertop “Fusion Wow” quartzite, Cumar.
Paint “Card Room Green” and “Farrow’s Cream,” both Farrow & Ball; “Pewter Green,” Sherwin-Williams.


Contractor/Interior Designer Cutting Edge Homes
Millworker JH Klein Wassink Co.

Illustration by Marisa Seguin


Fresh off the heels of renovating her own kitchen, writer (and local homeowner) Victoria Abbott Riccardi shares practical advice for working with an ace design team.

DO consider working with a reputable design-build company, which has an in-house team of architects, designers, contractors, and other experts. It streamlines the hiring process and ensures your talented team stays involved with every aspect of the project from start to finish.

DON’T disappear during the renovation. Visit the site regularly to deal with issues that crop up (and they will) and ensure everything is being done exactly to your specifications. You don’t want someone else making decisions on your behalf. Plus, it’s fun to see progress!

DO consider a “splurge and save” mindset in order to stay on budget. Splurge on must-haves, like that showpiece range, then save on, say, affordable light fixtures resembling the pricier version of ones you like.

DON’T assume it’s too late to change something. It may cost extra and delay the project, but given the effort and expense involved in renovating a kitchen, you want to be completely happy with the final result.

DO ask your designer if they can purchase your appliances, hardware, and lighting on your behalf to take advantage of the designer’s discount.

See the rest of the Kitchens Guide 2020.