Boston Home

Forward Motion

A dated kitchen and its adjacent spaces are poised for the present with shades of green, elegant details, and modern flourishes that complement the home’s original architecture.

The kitchen counters are white quartz, while the backsplash is comprised of Moroccan-inspired zellige subway tiles, also in white. / Photo by Greg Premru

When interior designer Jocelyn Chiappone first encountered the kitchen of this antique shingle-style home in the coastal town of Marion, it was in dire need of a makeover. Oddly configured with laminate floors, a peninsula with a corner sink, bad lighting, and a strange stone wall that showed the back of the adjoining room’s fireplace, “It was immediately clear that it needed a full gut renovation,” says Chiappone, who helms Newport, Rhode Island–based firm, Digs Design.

Fortunately, the homeowner—who lives abroad with her family for part of the year—has an appetite for color and a sense of adventure when it comes to design and was up for an overhaul, adds the designer, who collaborated with New England Design Works and Lars Olson Fine Home Building to develop a plan that made the kitchen larger and more functional.

Since the homeowners were overseas, the design team communicated with them via FaceTime to conceptualize the aesthetic for the space. Karen Swanson of New England Design Works eliminated an oddly placed room in the main living space to create an L-shaped kitchen, mudroom, walk-in pantry, and a wet bar with French doors to the backyard.

The cabinetry in the wet bar is painted Benjamin Moore’s “Brazilian Rainforest”; brass pendants are from Hudson Bay. / Photo by Greg Premru

Brass elements from the flush mounts to the Waterstone plumbing fixtures to the Armac Martin hardware, infuse the room with warmth and a bit of patina. / Photo by Greg Premru

The client embraced lively elements and moody colors, especially green, and Chiappone found it refreshing to design in this vibrant color rather than the standard blue and white typically associated with homes near the sea. Pommes de pin, a Pierre Frey wallcovering reproduction of an 18th-century floral motif in celadon selected for the dining room, set the tone for the color story in the kitchen and wet bar.

In the kitchen, where Urban Electric Co. pendants color-matched to the green in the wallcovering hang above the island, “Layers of neutrals and one-of-a-kind elements work together here for a design that is classic but with a delightful twist,” Chiappone says. Cabinets are painted Farrow & Ball’s “Stony Ground,” a classic stone color with an underlying red that creates a soft beige finish, which provides a pleasing contrast with the handsome black La Cornue range. The island, also black, is fitted with drawers to maximize the room’s storage. Unlacquered brass hardware and fixtures evoke a timeworn elegance while referencing Marion’s nautical heritage. The room’s windows are painted black to create cohesion and to nod to contemporary styling and the home’s longevity: Clearly, it’s poised to endure for another century, at least.

Contemporary styling melds with the home’s classic design in the dining room, where the original fireplace was freshened up with a crisp white surround, and the antique trestle table is paired with modern rattan chairs. / Photo by Greg Premru

Family Style

The family spends the summer and holidays at the home, so the dining room needs to accommodate everyday meals as well as more-formal special events. Chiappone found an antique trestle table that suits both functions while lending a sense of history to the room. To complement the rustic nature of the table, the mantel and fireplace surround are painted white, while colorful flourishes—the Peter Fasano patterned seat cushions and the Rosi de Ruig shades on the chandelier—add a sense of joy and whimsy to the room.

Interior Designer
Digs Design

Kitchen Designer
New England Design Works

Lars Olson Fine Home Building

The walk-in pantry off the kitchen stores many essentials and has personality, too, thanks to the cherry pineapple Serena & Lily wallpaper. / Photo by Greg Premru

First published in the print edition of Boston Home’s Fall 2023 issue, with the headline, “Forward Motion.”

See the rest of the Kitchens Guide 2023.