VENTNOR, NJ — We all know it’s cool to be at the beach, but sometimes it’s even cooler to bring the beach home.
That is precisely the design approach used by Michael Schallus, managing partner of Schallus and Sons Construction LLC, based here. Along with fellow managing partner, Christine Pagano, Schallus converted a previously cramped kitchen into a breezy, galley-style layout complete with a “Beach Cottage Chic” style.
Schallus explains: “[The property is two blocks from the beach], so the theme is a blend of cottage and beach themes. Since the entire apartment was stripped down, it is the foundation of a theme for the rest of the home.”
“The residence is designed to be used as a vacation location and a place to entertain guests,” he comments. “With its new design and theme, it serves this purpose very well.”
Specifically, all walls, ceilings and floors were removed to the studs, with two walls removed that had made the prior layout feel dark and cramped. The ceilings had previously been lowered from a spacious 9' to just 7' to accommodate a central air conditioning system, “as opposed to building a simple soffit,” he notes. To overcome this structural snafu, the team added “a much-needed vaulted ceiling.”
Storage was also key, he reports. “Ultimately, we chose a galley configuration as a way to maximize space and storage,” Schallus comments.
He points out that the kitchen was initially 10'x12', and has now grown to 15'x28', including an integrated breakfast/dining area.
“All kitchens should have enough space to put your work tools and utensils aside and provide more room to work with ease,” he adds. “This kitchen now offers a great deal of storage for items such as pots and pans, bowls, utensils and more.”
Schallus points out that the design pair also incorporated additional lights into the layout to brighten up the space and enhance the open, airy feel.
“Overall, visually removing walls allows the eye to see the large expanse of space that was intentionally created, [and] allows the natural light to enter from the living room’s 12 windows to fill the kitchen and dining area,” he remarks.
Completing the look is a combination of high-end appliances, exotic woods, natural materials and a color scheme called Cottage Yellow that was mixed by hand to obtain the ideal color.
According to Schallus, the custom island serves as the stunning focal point of the design. “The 105"x34" island is topped off with a one-piece continuous slab of Uba Tuba granite to provide maximum [visual appeal and] entertaining space,” he reports.
“The granite island is clearly the centerpiece of the kitchen and dining area,” he continues. “The granite grounds the space with its rich, dark, exotic and gold colors.”
He also notes that the island is instrumental in increasing the kitchen’s storage space. “In my opinion, the island is the foundation to a successful galley configuration [such as this]. In fact, due to limited wall space in this kitchen, the island has provided much-needed storage space,” he says.
“The island framing was custom fabricated on site with matching upper and lower trims,” Schallus continues. “We also installed custom red oak solid corbels to assist in supporting the 600-lb. granite slab.”
Likewise, the custom bead-board and custom faux finishing continue the cottage chic style theme, he adds.
The Frigidaire refrigerator was positioned at the end of the island, making it easier to slide items on to the nearby surface without having to open and close the door, Schallus concludes.
According to Schallus, the cabinetry – which was custom-made by his company – was configured to create a space that would be easy to work or entertain in.
Additionally, it adds visual appeal to the space. “The crown moldings on the cabinets were custom-made on site to tie into the new theme and give the cabinets height,” he explains.
Schallus and Pagano incorporated the same cottage-style baseboard trim and custom fit it to be used as a toe kick to wrap the cabinets and bring the environment together.
The work surface countertops feature a custom profile on the edge to match both the upper crown and baseboard below. The work area counters are made of a premium laminate to provide easy cleaning and low maintenance, Schallus notes, continuing the relaxed, beach-style theme.
For added convenience and storage options, the design team also added a utility closet that is equipped to be a washer/dryer area. The area includes freestanding racks that also allow the space to double as a pantry, if needed.
Colors and Finishes
Schallus notes that the room’s color palette also adds a warm and sunny feel to the space. Painted in the custom Cottage Yellow, the kitchen comes alive, while the stylish finish choices add to the space’s appeal.
The client requested the use of brushed nickel and stainless materials, which can be seen on the appliances, fixtures and lighting.
But while the stainless steel appliances certainly add aesthetic appeal to the space, Schallus notes that they were selected mainly for their low-maintenance qualities.
“The Frigidaire dishwasher, for instance, is conveniently located directly next to the sink, making loading easy for anyone,” he reports. “The Kenmore Stainless Smooth Top Range is also within the ‘kitchen triangle,’ and makes cooking a breeze. The nearby stainless Franke 9"-deep sink is perfectly within reach of the range, and is complemented by a Delta brushed nickel faucet with hand shower.”
The Broan-NuTone Allure stainless hood ties into the range, providing both functional and visual appeal.
The layout maximizes natural lighting; for instance, the sink is positioned below the center of the windows, which wash the space in natural light. But Schallus and Pagano incorporated additional light sources to make the space highly functional. Halo recessed lighting was added to illuminate the work surfaces, while other pendant lighting offers warm, intimate illumination over the island.
Schallus concludes that the pair made it a priority that the theme of the kitchen was carried seamlessly throughout the home.
“In the adjoining dining room, we added a Hampton Bay brushed nickel fan with custom-painted white blades that tie into the rest of the white trim work,” he states.
Tying the space together, the pair also used Bruce Ash Hardwood flooring that not only matches the cabinetry’s dark oak color but ties the theme together with its warmth and inviting feel.
For more about this project, click here.