SPRING LAKE, NJ —
There are plenty of eye-catching accents in the kitchen of this shore home recently remodeled by Peter Ross Salerno, CMKBD and owner/president of Peter Salerno, Inc., in Wyckoff, NJ. There’s the tin ceiling, the hand-painted monogrammed cabinetry in the pantry, the larger-than-life granite apple handpicked by the homeowners while on a trip to Carrera, Italy, and the island alcove for the family’s recently adopted shelter dog.
But it’s the French blue La Cornue Chateau cooker and custom-designed ventilation hood crafted from reclaimed 100-year-old tin that typically garner the greatest attention from guests.
The cooker and its complementary hood are the heart of the kitchen and the heart of Salerno’s design. They were requested by the clients, who fell in love with the Chateau cooker while on a family vacation in Paris. The client and her daughter took a cooking class at the Ritz where culinary indulgences were created on La Cornue cookers, and from that moment on, she knew she wanted to incorporate it into the remodel.
The challenge, however, was that the original cooktop was located on the island. Salerno suggested removing a centrally located window on an exterior wall to create the perfect vantage point to highlight the cooker.
“That particular wall was calling for something to be the theme of the kitchen,” Salerno says.
While the cooker drove the theme of the room, the hood above it had to be just as beautiful, Salerno stresses. Working with Amy Macar of SimplyAmy, LLC, in Milford, NJ, the duo created a stunning “crown” for the cooker. Macar turned the century-old tin that once adorned a New York City apartment into a one-of-a-kind hood.
“It’s really a piece of art,” Salerno says. “She did an amazing job. The hood and the range accentuate the entire wall, and they really make a big impact in the kitchen.”
Backsplash tiles, hand carved from terra cotta then painted with a metallic finish, virtually match the hood. Shelves on each side of the La Cornue provide a space for the client to display her heirloom canister collection.
The pièce de résistance
Tin from the same antique collection is also used as panel inserts in the island, which is topped with double-thick granite to match the magnitude of the kitchen.
The island, accented with French-style corbels, also adds to the European theme. Floor-to-ceiling columns, which previously “free floated,” are now incorporated into the island.
The pièce de résistance of the island is the alcove created for the family’s canine companion. “The family had just adopted a dog, Grace, and they wanted a place for her in the kitchen,” he says. “I carved out this niche in the island and gave her a place to cuddle up. I added a drawer for her collars and leashes. It’s really a great space. Everyone is happy, even the dog!”
Creating an optical illusion
One challenge associated with the space is the kitchen’s low ceiling, just 7.5'. To give the room an added sense of height, Salerno incorporated tall, narrow upper cabinets that run to the top of the room. “It’s really an optical illusion,” he says, “created by the cabinetry, as well as by the tin ceiling.”
The ceiling was crafted by the American Tin Ceiling Company to tie in with the antique hood. The chosen pattern – panels with a center medallion – was selected for its ability to accommodate the lights.
“We didn’t want to randomly cut the ceiling wherever we needed lights,” he says. “One reason we chose this pattern was because we could fit the lights in the center medallion.”
Additional highlights of the space include a monogrammed accent cabinet – hand painted by Joe Brown – that is flanked by two Sub-Zero wine refrigerators.
Across the room, a copper bar sink accented with tiny mosaic tiles that line the interior of the bowl enhances the theme of the kitchen.