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Coastal Kitchen with a Bright Bump-Out

A small addition opens up space for a light-filled kitchen—and opens up the outdoors for kids’ play

Written by Chris Hayhurst
  • James Salomon

    Broad and tall windows that wrap around a corner drench this Boston-area kitchen with light—but they’re there for a more practical reason. The homeowner wanted to be able to see her kids.

    “Before the renovation, you couldn’t see the backyard,” she says. “I never let them play outside when I was cooking because I couldn’t keep an eye on them.” A back-of-the-house bump-out and a new open floor plan now have the kitchen and the family room seamlessly connected. And with the windows—and a set of French doors—“the kids are right there,” she says.

    A wide path between the island and sink wall remains bright day and night thanks to wraparound windows and a generous mix of task and ambient lighting. The house’s coastal location on Massachusetts Bay inspired the sea-glass-like backsplash tiles and the blue-and-green rug from Company C.

    Photography: James Salomon
    Produced by Susan Salomon

    Architect: Art Dioli, Olson Lewis + Architects, 17 Elm St., Manchester, MA 01944; 978/526-4386,
    Interior designer: Kristina Crestin, Kristina Crestin Design, 7 Summer St., Suite C, Manchester, MA 01944; 978/890-7186,
    Builder: Anderson Contracting Services, 508/843-3347. 

  • James Salomon

    Connected Kitchen

    The window wall limited the number of upper cabinets, but a stately island more than makes up for any lost storage. The homeowner worried about its size at first, but then she realized that her big island, topped with a stunning slab of dark soapstone, has its perks. “It’s a work surface, a cooking surface, a project surface for the kids.” And it’s the room’s storage center. “We use it for everything.” Interior designer Kristina Crestin gives thumbs-up to the family's choice of soapstone. She describes it as classic, a “kind of organic, breathing material” that doesn’t hide the way you live.

    The homeowner boosted the style of the drum-style pendant lights from RH by painting the interiors of the shades a soft blue. The island is the center of activity for this family of five, and the lightweight chartreuse bar stools from Tolix are easy for children to slide in and out. 

  • James Salomon

    Focal-Point Island

    But because soapstone’s so dark, it does demand that its surroundings be light, Crestin says. That, and the fact that the home is near the ocean, led them to a midtone gray for the cabinets, the sea-glass-like tile for the backsplash, and the chartreuse bar stools and blue-green runner. Those last two elements can be swapped out at any time for a fresh new look, the designer notes.

    Here's a bright idea: illuminate a large island with high-volume drum lights—they’re a great decorative fit. Paint the inside of the shade for a splash of surprise color.


    Cabinetry (by David McWilliams Cabinetry): custom.
    Cabinetry paint (“Pavement” #C2-988): C2Paint,
    Cabinetry pulls: Restoration Hardware,
    Large cabinetry knobs: discontinued.
    Countertop: soapstone.
    Backsplash tile (Muse Collection, color “Clear” in “Iridescent” finish, 2.5x10, depth of tile gives it the blue/green color tone and the iridescent finish gives it some variation): Oceanside Glasstile, Through Tile Source,
    Flooring: white oak.
    Rug runner (“Leopard Rug”/Aqua #18924): Company C,
    Refrigerator by Sub-Zero); range (48-inch dual fuel range with 4 burners, infrared charbroiler and infrared griddle, by Wolf); warming drawer (by Wolf): Sub-Zero/Wolf,
    Range hood: Vent-A-Hood,
    Dishwasher: Bosch,
    Microwave drawer: Sharp,
    Sink: Blanco,
    Faucet (“Single Lever Mixer” #KWC SIN): KWC,
    Counter stools (“H Stools”): Tolix,
    Lights over island (“Antiqued Metal Drum Pendant,” with custom paint on inside of shades): Restoration Hardware,
    Lights above windows (Boston Functional Single Arm Library Light” #SL2922): Circa Lighting,  

  • James Salomon

    Sea Breeze

    The space does have a beachside feel, but like salt in a breeze, it’s very subtle. “It’s not like we’re beating you with the coastal stick,” Crestin says.

    Designer Kristina Crestin describes the tile as “softly textured and organic-looking,” with a subtle iridescence.

  • James Salomon

    Range Wall

    The Wolf  range with an infrared charbroiler and griddle offers professional-level cooking performance  in a compact footprint. 

  • James Salomon


    A KWC pull-down faucet serves the deep Blanco stainless-steel sink. The sink’s location by the windows allows the homeowner to keep an eye on her kids as she’s prepping meals.

  • James Salomon

    Drawer appliances

    The island’s built-in Sharp microwave is positioned at a height that makes it easy to use. Below it,  a Wolf warming drawer holds cooked food until it’s time to serve.

  • James Salomon

    Custom Cabinets

    What is clear is that this kitchen, with its wide lanes, island seating, well-lit work zones, and surprising treasures (the built-in hutch that functions like a pantry; the island’s microwave oven and refrigerator drawers), is made for a family that makes the most of spaces—indoors and out.

    Gray custom cabinets are painted “Pavement” from C2. A built-in hutch with concrete knobs on the doors and drawers and a lowered countertop functions as a pantry. 

  • David A. Land