A Charming Kitchen Transformation Honors This Cottage’s Nostalgic Past

Trusted designers prioritize function and fun in this retro room with a modern twist

“We love when clients come back to us. We’ve already established trust and rapport, but it gives us the opportunity to adapt and evolve their style to new surroundings—in this case, a charming seaside cottage with a history that extends beyond its physical structure. The client has memories in this vacation house, so she didn’t want to rip everything out. Instead, she intended to honor the original details and keep some elements of warmth and nostalgia. 

“We decided to lift the ceiling and, while doing so, maintain that old line of where the ceiling was. It made the space a little bit brighter and a smidge more open while also adding a plaster architectural element. The original paneling was a jumping-off point for the natural finishes throughout the space, but we toned down the yellow coloring of the pine. The wooden top on the island from Grothouse brings in warmth and juxtaposes the black honed-granite perimeter, and we chose a penny-tile backsplash from DiscoverTile. The color selection was an homage to the original styling of this lake home—it was a way not to abandon its retro vibe, but to thread its original tones through a more modern design. The client wasn’t afraid of color, and that’s right up our alley.

“This is truly an all-hands-on-deck kitchen that is always bustling with visitors. The tags on the cabinets—instructions for putting things away from the dishwasher—are something the client had before, along with the latches on the cabinets; they’re all inspired by the original kitchen. Function was a big driver throughout the whole project. It was important that certain pieces, like the fridge and the oven, be both utilitarian and fun. We used local vendors when possible: Kennebec Company did the cabinetry, and Huston and Company designed the table.

“We lean on our clients quite a bit to give us direction and help us understand what the spirit of the space will be. In a kitchen, you really do need the client to be involved in the functional aspect, and this client was into all of it: Where will the silverware live? Pots, pans, plates, and glasses all have their proper home here. Collaboration was key to making this space functional for generations to come.”

—Kate Maloney and Elizabeth Stone of Kate Maloney Interior Design   

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