NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Do you believe in love at first sight? The owners of this Tudor-style home did. They were driving through New Rochelle when they first saw it, and, in an instant, they fell head over heels.
Of course they knew that the house needed work, but, subscribing to the old adages that say love is blind and love conquers all, they moved forward and bought the house.
Their next move was to walk into The Office of Carol J. W. Kurth, AIA Architect, p.c. in nearby Bedford, NY. And as Carol J. W. Kurth, AIA, Allied Member ASID, described the home at first glance, "it had good bones," but it hadn't had any "work of substance or design intent" done to it to update the house outside of what could only be considered minor maintenance.
"The owners – a busy career couple with a few teenagers of their own – fell in love with the home because it was an original Tudor-style home. The home had a lot of possibilities, and it was in a great neighborhood, but it was a rabbit warren of tiny rooms with an almost original kitchen and completely original baths. It needed quite a bit of work," explains Kurth.
She partnered with Jenna Berger, Allied Member ASID, from her firm, as well as with Prestige Development, LLC in Mount Kisco, NY to completely remodel the entire home – paying particular attention to the kitchen.
In doing so, she breathed new life into the vintage Tudor, bringing the turn-of-the-20th-century home into the 21st century and giving it a new kitchen and family room area.
However, she first had to tackle reconfiguring and opening up the old kitchen, which was quite a job.
"The original kitchen was separated by a wall adjacent to the eating area, and the refrigerator was housed in a side entry area outside the kitchen space," explains Kurth. "The original housekeeper's room adjoined the kitchen space, and was a narrow, cramped room. To complicate the design challenge, a major bearing wall needed to be removed."
So she worked with the bearing wall location and developed penetrations within it, thereby creating a new partition that defined the identity of each area. She then gutted all of the existing spaces and applied a new, more cohesive layout that was open, yet had separate functions.
"The new kitchen space is arranged on axis with the arched breakfast bar and bay window on one axis and on center with the Viking Professional Series range and breakfast area on the other," explains Kurth.
The archway that frames the entrance into the kitchen from the transition space off the home's main entry provides the first visual connection to the new kitchen and family area. However, more importantly, the archway that sits over the breakfast bar in the kitchen proper provides a visual connection to the new family room, notes Kurth.
The French doors that sit adjacent to the breakfast table and four chairs lead down to a patio, essentially marrying the interior space to the outdoors, she adds.
The window that sits on the polished Dakota Mahogany granite perimeter countertop from Granite Tops Inc. in Mount Vernon, NY serves the same purpose. "Having it sit directly on the countertop creates a seamless surface and offers a panoramic view, as well," notes Kurth.
That window also frames the Herbeau Creations white porcelain, apron-front main sink and Whitehaus Collection antique copper faucet that sit in front of it.
"A detailed ceiling grid further defines the spaces and enhances the Tudor effect of the spaces," adds Kurth.
Once the structural metamorphosis was complete, Kurth and her team began adding style and function back into the kitchen.
In terms of aesthetics, Kurth gave the kitchen what she calls "a mélange of finishes that marry in tone and in scale." The end result is an eclectic mix of warm colors and interesting contrasts of materials that create an unexpected and inviting design, she says.
Kurth started by designing the wood cabinetry the wife requested. She applied a black "hang-on" glaze finish that added a distressed feeling to the custom cherry wood cabinetry built by Bilotta Home Center in Mamaroneck, NY.
She included a host of storage bells and whistles that add function to all of the cabinetry. For example, she incorporated a pull-out on either side of the main sink to house dish towels. Each one has a leg detail for visual interest, she adds.
She also designed a matching hood that conceals a Vent-a-Hood ventilation unit. The hood was also built by Bilotta.
Kurth then installed ceramic floor and backsplash tile with cobbled edges, and highlighted the backsplash tile with metal "intaglio" accents. "The floor tile... looks like a cross between aged stone and clay tile. It plays off of the backsplash very well. This is one example of how the different finishes in the kitchen give off an aged patina and antiqued effect, which is the exact eclectic effect I was seeking," remarks Kurth.
Next on the list, in terms of function, was the installation of the suite of professional-style appliances the wife requested, says Kurth. To that end, a Viking refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher and undercounter microwave, along with the aforementioned Viking Professional Series range, were all installed. All sport a stainless steel finish.
She also created a stunning, yet functional island that features a honed Absolute Black granite island top supplied by Granite Tops, as well as a Whitehaus Collection copper sink and antique copper faucet.
Several decorative pendants and Progress high hats (recessed can lights) lighten and brighten up the space, rounding out the kitchen design.