FIGURE EIGHT ISLAND, NC — When you’ve been waiting for your dream home to materialize for half of your lifetime, figuring out the right person to make it happen is critical.
That is where Rebecca Reynolds, principal and designer at New Canaan, CT-based New Canaan Kitchens comes in. Reynolds worked with her Connecticut-based clients to create the North Carolina vacation home they had long dreamed of.
“They fell in love with the Low Country years ago when vacationing with their family,” says Reynolds. “They rented year after year, and finally bought property on the water to eventually build a vacation home. This project was built as a guest house on the water, but was set back with plans for a main house to be built at a later date.”
The empty nesters wanted to have a retreat for the whole family to enjoy on vacations and at holidays.
Reynolds was brought onboard to design the kitchen, the bar area in the main living room, which has a water view, and a closet/media/storage area in the master bedroom.
On the Job
The 4,500-sq.-ft. home includes a 15'x20' kitchen that Reynolds says was challenging simply because of the location.
“This job was done out of state, so I was working with a new builder,” she says. “Even though I visited the job site every couple of months and met with all of the subcontractors on-site, I didn’t have the familiarity I typically have with people I work with locally.”
Some of the pieces of this puzzle are even less local than North Carolina; the cabinetry the clients selected is a custom design done by Edwin Loxley, a firm located in Nottingham, England. Loxley also did the turnings and mouldings found throughout the kitchen.
The cabinetry carried through the buttercream-and-blue color palette the couple had selected throughout the home.
“The painted cabinetry was a custom buttercream color with a pewter glaze,” says Reynolds, noting the custom pewter hinges and hand-forged English pewter accents on the perimeter cabinetry are also featured on the island and hood details.
The furniture pieces in the kitchen provide a warm accent and needed texture to the seaside color scheme.
Pippy oak, a wood indigenous to England, was used for the furniture pieces: the armoire that hides two 700-series Sub-Zero refrigerators, and the island meal counter.
Just getting the cabinetry into the house was another challenge. After it arrived via a container ship, and the workers arrived from England to install it, there was the little matter of actually getting it all inside.
“Many houses built in the water have the main living space on the second or even third floor of the house to maximize water views.
“The construction of the English cabinetry was extremely heavy, so we had to get a truck to boom the cabinets into the second floor of the house,” says the designer, who called that process “stressful.”
Reynolds’ clients wanted their kitchen, and home overall, to reflect its seaside location.
“The design theme was definitely nautical in nature,” she says. “My task from the outset of the project was that the client wanted some type of blue countertop material. This made me a bit nervous simply because I never want a kitchen to get dated and I especially don’t want a client to look back, be tired of what they chose and say, ‘Why on earth did we ever pick this?’”
Reynolds’ work comprises a more neutral palette but, she says, the mandate for color and the exploration into materials to accommodate the request was a fun journey.
“I found an incredible granite early on called Van Gogh. It was the most unique stone I’d ever seen,” she continues.
Van Gogh granite has a pattern typified by a wealth of blue, veined through with other bolder tones, such as pinks, yellows and greens. Named for Vincent Van Gogh, whose colors and brush strokes the granite evokes, it was the perfect fit for Reynolds’ clients.
“Once this decision was made, all of the other choices for colors fell into place,” she continues.
The countertop on the island is a cream crackled Pyrolave French lava stone, a favorite of Reynolds.
“It is fabulously stunning with the most gorgeous colors and I consider it almost indestructible as a material,” she adds.
An undermount Kohler painted design sink sits on the work side of the island, with a curved traditional faucet above.
Other details such as a custom hand-painted tile backsplash featuring a ship at sea continued the visual interest. The backsplash was painted in France by Paris Ceramics. Cracked field tiles were selected for the rest of the backsplash for their antique aged look.
In addition to the Sub-Zero refrigerators in the custom armoire, Reynolds specified a Wolf cooktop and undercounter oven.
“Flush mounting the Wolf oven in the cabinetry the way they do it in Europe was a nice custom touch,” says Reynolds.
In addition to the kitchen, the designer also created a bar/serving area for the family room.
“A pretty shade of Evergreen was chosen as the paint color to coordinate with other furnishings in the room,” she says.
In the family room, Reynolds used a beadboard style door from Crystal Cabinetry. To add convenience and give the area a furniture look, the designer specified a side-by-side Sub-Zero beverage refrigerator with custom panels.
“The bar was really challenging in that we put a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawer below the undermount sink,” says the designer. “I had never tried this before and it was a bit of a challenge to figure out how to make all of the plumbing for the sink and the dishwasher work.”
Reynolds credits the subcontractors for a lot of the success for the completed design. They listened and were not afraid to take on the seemingly impossible, she stresses.
For more about this project, click here.