A renovation more than doubles the size of a kitchen
Creating an eat-in kitchen was Joan Pluck’s main impetus for renovating her family’s New Canaan, Connecticut, home, but there were other issues. There were only two east-facing windows, so the galley kitchen was dark, particularly in the afternoons. A laundry room adjacent to the kitchen took up space needed for a dining area and better storage. Joan also wanted a more inviting and comfortable gathering area. “The absolute must-haves were a fireplace in the kitchen area, lots of windows to absorb the sun, and high ceilings,” Joan says.
Joan Pluck consulted an architectural designer with one-of-a-kind insights into the family’s needs—her sister, Louise Brooks. Brooks bumped out the east and north sides of the house to create a new kitchen and sitting room and a new back porch with storage areas. The bump-outs more than doubled the size of the existing kitchen. She pushed ceiling heights to 9 feet and lined exterior walls with ceiling-high windows that flood the space with sunlight.
Photography: Tria Giovan
Produced by: Bonnie Maharam
Architectural design: Louise Brooks, Brooks & Falotico Assoc. Inc., 199 Elm St. Suite 2, New Canaan, CT 06840; 203/966-8440, brooksandfalotico.com.
A deep farmhouse-style sink in the island allows the cook to face the new sitting room and talk with family or guests while preparing a meal. Paper towels are discreetly tucked into a built-in dispenser to the left of the sink, right under the counter—one of Brooks’s clever trademark storage solutions. Directly beneath the paper towels is a pullout trash bin designed to look like a drawer.
Brooks incorporated storage wherever possible, including clever spice cabinets tucked in the mantel-style niche that tops the range and also conceals the vent hood. A TV is concealed in the island behind cabinet doors facing the sofa.
Three antique ship lights (the sisters and their families love to sail) hang above the island. “The lights are actually either squid lights or searchlights off of a boat,” Joan says. “The copper finish is what inspired the color for the walls. I absolutely love the color. It is cheery, bright, and different.” A decorative painter layered custom-mixed gold-toned paints on the walls, then combed the damp paint to create a subtle crosshatch pattern.
Serving and holiday dishes are kept in upper cabinets above the range.
Graceful brackets visually link the upper wall with base cabinets and are in keeping with existing architectural details in the 1930s house.
Laundry facilities were moved upstairs, opening up space at one end of the kitchen for a sunny breakfast nook. An antique oval table and white-painted chairs pull up to a built-in window seat topped with pillows. Classic wood trim and crown moldings frame the breakfast nook and are suitable for the Plucks’ 1930s shingle-style house.
Another smart storage idea: The window seat holds seasonal cooking supplies.
A kitchen wall was bumped out to create a sunny sitting area with a fireplace next to the renovated kitchen. The wood-burning fireplace is also trimmed with white wood paneling and is visible from the kitchen work area. “We like to entertain but we prefer to do this on a casual level, so the fireplace provides great ambience while friends and family hang out,” Joan says.
The butler’s pantry links the kitchen to an outdoor terrace. The gold paint on the pantry walls is lighter than the shade of gold in the kitchen.
A vintage-style faucet and subtle white-on-white tiles dress up the butler’s pantry.
Architectural designer Louise Brooks, left, with her sister, Joan Gullans Pluck.
Brooks has designed countless projects since she founded her architectural design business in 1988. While styles change over the years, Brooks stays true to these principles:
• Keep cabinets, trim, and other details in tune with the house’s architecture.
• Allow for traffic flow and adequate work space, so no one feels trapped or crowded in one area.
• Plan for storage and use every nook and cranny. You can never have too much.
• Open rooms to the outdoors to maximize light.