You are here

Great Kitchen: European-Style Redesign

A handcrafted French stove inspires a suite (and sweet) redesign

Written by Amy Elbert
  • John Bessler

    A grand 1915-era mansion modeled after a 16th-century English Tudor castle certainly demands a strong shot of tradition when it comes to interior design. But who really wants to hang out in a centuries-old kitchen?

    Nobody, figured New Jersey kitchen designer Jim Dove, who created an inviting kitchen suite with a graceful blend of modern and period elements for the 2012 showhouse at Glynallyn Castle in Morristown, New Jersey.

    “People like the peaceful quality of clean, modern lines but most of our clients live in traditional homes,” says Dove, a kitchen designer at Canterbury Design in Morristown. “It’s a bit of a balancing act to get the correct push and pull of colors, textures, and forms.”

    Dove and the Canterbury Design team—Melissa Seibold, Scott Seibold, and Alison Griffin—started with one large room at the Mansion in May Designer Showhouse, with the vision of creating a guest suite with kitchen. Their first choice was a dark navy blue French range that has the charm of an old European stove combined with the latest in high-powered cooking functions. A coordinating navy vent hood and side cabinets with stainless steel tops give the nearly 60-inch-long range even more of a presence.

    An arched nook was constructed on one wall to gracefully accentuate the cooking zone. A refrigerator and a pantry neatly fit into recesses on either side of the arch, hidden behind ceiling-high, paneled cherry doors, also with arched tops.

    Another wall was modified to enclose existing radiators and create charming window niches. The radiators are camouflaged with metal mesh doors and topped with stone windowsills. “Air is able to flow through the mesh, and the stone sills allow heat to radiate,” Dove notes. Plus, enclosing the radiators created enough wall depth for a built-in kitchen hutch.

    The beveled-glass doors on the built-in alder hutch pay homage to the traditional aesthetic of the mansion—they’re reminiscent of the diamond grid in many of the home’s original windows.

    Modern influences came into play with the boxy island, topped with a thick square-edge slab of Danby marble. Rather than adding ornately turned legs, Dove set the island on simple tapered feet with a mirrored toekick. “The toekick reflects the floor, giving the illusion that the island is floating,” Dove says. Nickel lanterns above the island are traditional in style, but their large scale gives them an updated attitude that energizes the room, the designer says. 

    A tone-on-tone Venetian plaster treatment with an old-world matte finish gives depth and patina to the walls. New ceiling beams (added to unify the spaces) and trim were painted semigloss white.

    New Jersey interior designers Laurie Finn and Mary Dore oversaw the sitting and dining areas, taking cues from the blue range. In the dining area, blue-and-white fabric lends a French country air to whitewashed fretwork chairs that circle a mahogany table. Cream-colored furnishings provide a serene backdrop in the sitting area, where blue makes a comeback on pillows and draperies.

    The kitchen, dining, and sitting areas flow easily from one to the other, combining “sleek sophistication with traditional familiarity,” says Dove, “a convivial atmosphere for the grand home’s guests.”

    Photography: John Bessler
    Produced by Stacy Kunstel

    Interior design: Laurie Finn and Mary Dore, La Jolie Maison, 359 Springfield Ave., Summit, NJ 07901; 908/598-7170,
    Kitchen design: Jim Dove, Canterbury Design, 103 Ridgedale Ave., Morristown, NJ 07962; 973/539-3339,

  • John Bessler


    A dark navy blue La Cornue range is set into a nook that is flanked by arched cherry doors for the refrigerator on the right and a pantry cupboard on the left.

    Cabinetry (Bespoke and La Cornue); hutch (designed by Melissa Seibold): Canterbury Design, 973/539-3339,
    Leaded-glass inserts in hutch: Steve Genualdi, Stained Glass Gallery, 973/267-4361.
    Island countertops and windowsill (“Danby Marble”): Vermont Quarries, 802/775-1065,
    Fabrication: Bridgewater Marble & Granite Works, 732/560-1717,
    Countertops flanking La Cornue range: stainless steel.
    Hanging lanterns over island (“Mercer 17 Lantern”/Light Pewter #HL2891.17); sconces by range (“Cleo Sconce”/Polished Nickel #IS1779.1): Remains Lighting, 212/675-8051,
    Wall paint (“Palace White” #OC-100); ceiling and trim paint (“Ivory White” #925): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,
    Painting and decorative finishes: Alternative Interiors, 800/924-4508,
    Range (“Château 165 Range”/Dark Navy Blue, stainless steel trim, with polished nickel accents, by La Cornue); range hood (“Hotte Château Hood”/Dark Navy Blue, with polished nickel trim, by La Cornue); pot rack (polished nickel): La Cornue,
    Backsplash (“Danby Marble”): Vermont Quarries, 802/775-1065,
    Backsplash (custom design, by Canterbury Design): fabrication by Bridgewater Marble & Granite Works, 732/560-1717,
    Sink (“Multiere 45-inch Single Basin Sink”/Stainless Steel, with deluxe accessories #L20309-00); faucet (“One” pull-down kitchen faucet/Chrome #P25200-00): Kallista, 888/452-5547,
    Refrigerator (700 series, 27-inch freezer drawers and refrigerator door): Sub-Zero Wolf, 800/222-7820,
    Dishwasher (#G 5575 SCVi, fully integrated): Miele Inc., 800/843-7231,
    Plants and flowers: James Opie III, Emerald Garden Design, 973/564-9510,
    Bar stools (“Folio 24-inch Backless Counter Stool”/Chocolate Leather): Crate & Barrel, 800/996-9960,
    Flooring: wide-plank pine with dark stain.

  • John Bessler


    Kitchen designer Jim Dove of Canterbury Design.

  • John Bessler


    A thick squared-off edge modernizes the Danby marble top of the center island.

    Details on the following slides.

  • John Bessler


    An arched chrome faucet from Kallista is one of the minimalist features that keep the kitchen feeling clean-lined and contemporary.

  • John Bessler

    Lantern Lighting

    Two large-scale fixtures from Remains Lighting visually balance the weight of the island. The lanterns are embellished with curved nickel bands around the top of the glass, subtly mimicking the arch above the range and on the tops of doors.

  • John Bessler

    Dining Area

    A round mahogany table from Hickory Chair relaxes when mixed with whitewashed side chairs with fretwork backs (a nod to classic Chinese Chippendale designs).

    Table (“Collier Dining Table, Top and Base” #1542-70 and #1542-71, Suzanne Kasler Collection); chairs (“Linwood Side Chair” #1551-02, Suzanne Kasler Collection): Hickory Chair, 800/349-4579,
    Chair-seat fabric (“Foglia Figured Woven”/Canton Blue #BR89764-221): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880,
    Area rug (“Himalayan Art Grey”): Bokara Rug Co., 201/556-1200,
    Chandelier -(“Chatelaine Chandelier” #9022): Currey & Co., 877/768-6428,
    Crystal (“Pearl” and “Bunny”): William Yeoward Crystal, 800/818-8484,
    China (“Exotic Butterflies,” “Ivy Garland,” “Morning Glory,” “Spring in Budapest,” by Anna Weatherley): DeVine Corp., 732/751-0500,
    Place mats: Deborah Rhodes, 203/333-8998,
    Napkin rings (antique): designer’s collection.
    Napkins: Sferra,
    Flowers: James Opie III, Emerald Garden Design, 973/564-9510,
    Television: Bang & Olufsen,

  • John Bessler

    Crystal Cabinet

    A built-in hutch designed by Melissa Seibold has burled alder door panels, crown molding, and beveled-glass doors with serpentine lead cames. Enclosing old radiators created a space in a corner for the hutch, which is visible from the kitchen and dining areas.

  • John Bessler

    Floating Island

    Tapered metal-banded legs and a recessed mirrored toekick reflect the floor and give the illusion that the island is floating. The visual trick lightens the mass of the island and introduces a modern feel to the traditional kitchen.

  • John Bessler

    Interior Designers

    Laurie Finn (standing) and Mary Dore of La Jolie Maison Interior Design, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey.

  • John Bessler

    Timeless Hardware

    Blue-and-green-patterned fabrics for draperies and pillows add color to the serene and neutral palette.

    Sofa (“Sutton Sofa” #322-88, Upholstery Collection); sofa fabric (#2682-18); chair (“Ludlow Chair” #124-24, 1911 Collection); chair fabric (#2325-18); side table (“Milo M2M Side Table” #2491-51, James River Collection); coffee table (“Carriol Cocktail Table” #5479-70, Alexa Hampton Collection); ottoman (“Charles Hassock” #329-29, Upholstery Collection): Hickory Chair, 800/349-4579,
    Ottoman fabric (#15204-402): Duralee Fabrics, 800/275-3872,
    Tray table by chair (“Wisteria Wood Tray,” discontinued): Michael Aram, 212/461-6903,
    Area rug (“Himalayan Art White”): Bokara Rug Co., 201/556-1200,
    Drapery (“Bellary Cotton Print”/Blue, Cappuccino #BR-700016-278); patterned pillows on sofa (“Zenobia Linen Print”/Canton Blue, Green #BR-700018-221): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880,
    Drapery hardware: Antique Drapery Rod Co., 214/653-1733,
    Table lamp (“Primo Polished Nickel Lamp” #49958-133): Arteriors Home, 877/488-8866,
    Art (by John Phillip Osborne): J.M. Stringer Gallery of Art, 908/766-6400,
    Frames: La Jolie Maison, 908/598-7170,
    Wall paint (“Palace White” #OC-100); ceiling and trim paint (“Ivory White” #925): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,

  • John Bessler

    Timeless Hardware

    Cherry doors on the refrigerator and pantry are accented by Baxter bronze hardware with a “living finish,” which develops a patina over time, particularly on areas where it is frequently touched.

  • John Bessler


    Jim Dove and the Canterbury Design team chose a navy blue French range from La Cornue, which combines the charm of a classic European stove with the functionality of modern amenities.