The Simpsons lived with the kitchen for a while before figuring out what was working for them and what wasn’t. They weren’t crazy about having so many clunky upper cabinets floating around, lost beneath the high ceilings. They loved the kitchen’s bones but wanted to give it a more open feeling and a more authentic farmhouse look.
“One of the many great things about Rafe is that he respected the existing space, and he doesn’t get caught up in all the new bells and whistles available today unless they make sense for the room,” Dana says.
The couple wanted windows over the sink to enjoy the view and to feel like they’re part of any parties on the patio, so they replaced the existing casement windows with period-appropriate double-hung units. The cabinet on the right is the lone upper; they replaced some of the door-front cabinets below with deep drawers for smarter storage.
“The quirky upper cabinet brings it down to the level of a charming historic kitchen you would see in an untouched farmhouse,” Churchill says. It’s also a convenient place to stash drinking glasses.
Cabinet paint: Green Blue, Farrow & Ball; pendant lights: PW Vintage Lighting
Without all of the bulk of typical cabinet arrangements, the room feels much more open. “When it comes to cabinets, if you build it, you will fill it,” Dana says. “I can keep the large items like paella pans and lobster pots I use once a year in the basement.”
Tip: When designing cabinets, finding the right depth is key. The armoire cabinet, for instance, was designed to be deep enough to accommodate dinner plates.
Kitchen table: Hammertown; hooked rug: vintage; chairs: vintage; pendant over kitchen table: CB2
Churchill recommended lowering the tall pantry ceiling to 8 feet, to make it feel more traditional, and designed cabinets that were the appropriate size for food storage. “Now the cabinets engage the coved molding at the ceiling,” the architect says. The pantry also provides counter space for a coffee station, freeing up the counters in the kitchen for workspace.
The aforementioned Sub-Zero is directly across from the range. Churchill recommended leaving it freestanding with nothing around it, which jives perfectly with Dana’s desire to keep the space open. “The refrigerator is gorgeous, Churchill says. “Even though it’s modern, it’s more timeless to leave it freestanding, like you’d see in an older kitchen; it’s like a big, old-fashioned ice chest.”
The countertops were a lucky find. Dana is not a big fan of granite; James is not a big fan of marble; and they had used concrete in their last home and wanted something different. “By the time we went to the stone yard, we were at somewhat of an impasse,” Dana says. Luckily, they discovered Pietra Cordosa. “It’s like a combination of soapstone and slate,” she describes. “We chose a very honed, plain finish for it.”
Wall paint: Moonlight White, Benjamin Moore; countertops: Rock Solid Marble & Granite; flooring: Franklin Wood Products
The Simpsons laid templates over the slabs of stone at the stone yard, enabling them to choose the best pieces for the surround, counters and backsplash. Now their house is more as they envisioned it the first day they laid eyes on it.
All of the furniture in this room came from Dana Simpson’s family business, Hammertown.
More: Kitchen Workbook: 8 Elements of a Farmhouse Kitchen