Home Design

This Chestnut Hill Kitchen Feels Timeless in All the Right Ways

Thanks to materials like quartzite, soapstone, and lime plaster.


Photo by Nat Rea

Before Bloom Architecture’s redesign, the Tuscan flavor of this 585-square-foot Chestnut Hill kitchen felt inconsistent with the architecture of the 131-year-old house, not to mention the owners’ modern tastes. To streamline the room, principal Derek Bloom gutted it and devised a simple, L-shaped layout with ample cabinetry and timeless finishes. Now, the cooking features stretch along the back wall and an oversize island flows to the patio. Behind it, a well-worn breakfast table gives the couple’s two grade schoolers a place to spread out, while an adjacent utility area rounds out the versatile space. “We created a clean envelope with beautiful accents that blends with the rest of the house,” Bloom says.

Photo by Nat Rea

Rich materials, including the island’s quartzite countertop with veining evocative of hand-drawn squiggles, the soapstone perimeter countertop, and the hood finished with lime plaster, elevate the pared-down design.

Photo by Nat Rea

Sculptural lighting—Wo & Wé sconces, Allied Maker perforated metal domes, and an illuminated plaster cavity over the table inspired by artist James Turrell’s “Skyspaces” installations—reflects the owners’ creative sensibilities.

Photo by Nat Rea

Cabinetry painted Farrow & Ball’s “Studio Green” and punctuated with leather pulls references the outdoors. “I initially wanted an even darker hue, but green is part of the palette around us,” the owner says.

Photo by Nat Rea

A swath of green cabinetry wraps around one corner, complete with a pocket door that hides the utility area. The windowless zone, which acts as a mudroom and a laundry space, is a functional yet aesthetic element featuring artist Ruan Hoffmann’s “Much Love Me” tiles for Clé.

Photo by Nat Rea

Homework and crafts happen at the antique-oak breakfast table from Leonards New England in Seekonk. “It’s had a lot of love and abuse, and we continue to give it more,” the owner says.


Shopping Tips

Tempting Tile Trends

Brush up on some of the year’s most popular options.

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1 “Rustico” porcelain field tile, $10 per square foot, Ann Sacks.

Why opt for high-maintenance hardwood when you can install easy-to-clean tile with the same vibe? That’s part of the thinking, anyway, behind stylish “wood-look” varieties such as this Ann Sacks model.

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2 Cepac Tile “Retro” porcelain tile, $12 per square foot, Tile Showcase.

Matte finishes and hexagonal silhouettes continue to gain traction, and this gem from Cepac Tile checks both boxes.

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3 Glazzio Tiles “Calabria” porcelain tile, $7 per square foot, LaFauci Tile and Marble.

A prime example of the luxe large-format trend, this oversize porcelain piece from Glazzio Tiles covers nearly 8 square feet.

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4 StoneImpressions “Regent” 6-inch Carrara marble tile, $22, Tile By Design.

Fashionable patterned options, including this StoneImpressions
stunner, create instant focal points.

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5 Porcelanosa “Terrazzo” Krion tile, $1,150 per slab, Tiles by Perfection.

Seemingly a perennial favorite, terrazzo tiles like this Porcelanosa example add texture in spades.


Designer Tricks

Standout Storage

Interior designer Holly Gagne shares a few tips for stashing your stuff.

Cover it Up

Want to reduce clutter and maximize storage? Go for cabinets that extend from the countertop to the ceiling, which will help you hide small, but frequently used, appliances. “Add pocket doors and electrical outlets so these cabinets are an extension of your work area when in use—or fully concealed when not,” Gagne suggests.

Make it Personal

“Consider your workflow and decide where every item should be stored based on what appliance it needs to be closest to,” Gagne advises. “Once the items have a designated cabinet, design the inserts so each cabinet accommodates the sizes and types of items you are storing most efficiently.” One designer go-to? “Drawers with removable plate racks to make the process of setting the table or emptying the dishwasher easiest,” Gagne says.

Think Outside the Box

From range hoods with built-in storage to islands with discreet, touch-latch doors, “We love seeing creative design solutions that challenge the traditional idea of cabinetry,” Gagne says. Plus, “If you can free up walls from heavy cabinetry, there is more opportunity for interesting materials and fixtures,” she adds.

Ponder the Pantry

“If you have space for a walk-in pantry, consider moving a few of the kitchen’s everyday functions to that room—maybe you can create a dual bar for morning breakfast and evening cocktails,” the designer says. “[If you] save the kitchen for cooking, baking, and prep, it will lighten the load of what needs to live in the kitchen, as well as [decrease] the foot traffic during busier times of day.”

See the rest of this year’s featured kitchens here.