A year ago, Cameron Normand's life got a whole lot bigger. She got married, then moved into a large home in Alexandria, Virginia, that could accommodate her, her new husband, and his four children. But even with the extra space, the house needed an update—starting in the kitchen. Now feeding four growing step-kids ranging in age from 9 to 16, there just wasn't enough counter or storage space, and there definitely wasn't a place to hang backpacks and jackets when everyone got home from school. So, Normand hired Zoe Feldman Design to give the kitchen a family-friendly face lift that would make the space as beautiful as it is functional.
Here, Feldman walks us through the renovation.
Reconfigure the Space
First, they did some major construction to turn a non-functioning area and utility closet between the kitchen and the garage into a mudroom and butler's pantry. "Historically, a butler's pantry is where a staff might prep for dinner parties between the dining room and kitchen," explains Feldman. "But here, it will be used as a large pantry, wine area, with some additional appliances and overflow for storage and food prep."
Make It Kid-Friendly
Feldman decided to leave the pantry open so everyone in the family could have easy access. But with such a clear view into the space, it was important that it wouldn't look messy. They chose to use baskets for storage, which meant that produce and dry goods would remain out-of-sight. They also went with darker kitchen cabinetry so it could take more of a beating without showing scuffs and subway tiles on the walls for easier clean-up.
Keep Your Personality
This is actually not the first time Feldman has worked on a project for Normand. Feldman helped design the townhouse she lived in before she got married, and both women decided they wanted some of the spirit of that home infused into the new space. "She had a Palm Beach kind of vibe to her," says Feldman. "She loves bolder and brighter colors and happy tones." They went with a bird fabric on the bench in the mudroom to pay homage to her past life and the clear globes above the island from Rejuvenation are the same ones she had in her old space.
Globe-lighting is great for the center of the room because it gives a more overall light. "And brass is very much a historic metal that goes with our elevated industrial vibe," says Feldman. She loves the idea of a space feeling like the polished version of what it is meant to be. "We no longer live in a world where people don't see your spaces, especially on the first level. Almost everything [in your home] is public access, so its got to be stylized." And when it comes to styling, the designer loves mixing metals. "You don't want everything black, everything brass, or everything anything," she says. "We want it to feel layered and organic." In the kitchen they went with brass knobs and handles—because they felt warmer than traditional chrome—and a copper sink.
Elevate Through Paint
"Often times if we're being budget conscious, we 'elevate through paint,'" says Feldman. "You can make cabinetry that isn't the most expensive look really nice by painting it." Feldman opted for two colors for the kitchen cabinets to ensure it didn't feel too heavy: a lighter hue for the top cabinets, Farrow & Ball Teresa's Green, which makes the space feel bigger, and a darker shade, Farrow & Ball Down Pipe, on the bottom to create a foundation. Dark gray continued on into the pantry. Since you can see the backspace when you're standing in the kitchen, Feldman wanted a thread that made the rooms feel cohesive. She also used open wood shelving to warm up the pantry and tie into the wood floors.
Decorate with Purpose
Feldman recommends decorating utilitarian spaces like kitchen and pantries with pieces that are functional but don't get used very often, like a cheese board, a tea set, or something you got for your wedding. "You can integrate family photos or art," she says. "But I also love hanging a cutting board in open shelving or putting potted herbs in the window. We try and make decorations useful and not too trite."