With its thoughtful design elements, a Kennett Square kitchen becomes a domestic hub for a father and his three sons.
In looking for a larger house for him and his three sons, Paul Hutchison knew he wanted to remain in Kennett Square, where he’s long been a resident. It’s also home to his business, PSX, a parking and security integration company. Hutchison found what he looking for in one home, immediately sold on its sprawling backyard and large pool. “It’s just a little oasis,” he says.
The previous owners had added onto the house over the years, so it was spacious. But the style didn’t suit his aesthetic. And the kitchen was anything but an oasis. It was “a little eclectic,” says Hutchison. “Everything was oak.”
Oak cabinets and support columns gave the kitchen a dated feel, as did the oak details on the island light fixture. “I loved the layout,” says Hutchison. “I just didn’t like the style.”
A makeover was definitely in order, so Hutchison tapped Kelly Clark of Tague Design Showroom. She designed a lighter, brighter space, with not a sliver of oak in sight. Her ideas were then executed by Brandywine Creek Construction.
With four men in the house, Hutchison wanted something a bit more masculine—
a modern space with sleeker finishes that still fit the overall farmhouse feel of the home. Naturally, that meant getting rid of the oak cabinets, with its rope and gingerbread millwork.
They were replaced with sleek Medallion cherry wood finished in a peppercorn stain. Offering a lighter counterpoint, the Emerstone Borghini veined white quartz and Azzurro quartzite countertops came from Stone Masters of Kennett Square. “I just loved the color from the start,” says Hutchison of the cabinets’ gray finish.
The bi-level center island is topped with quartzite, adding further contrast and dimension. Here, Clark added X ends to either side, along with shiplap, to create visual interest. The higher side of the island is the first thing guests see when entering. Its height provides a perfect perch and disguises the cooktop.
Elsewhere in the kitchen, Clark converted an area once used as desk space, adding more storage and three floating shelves that offer both functionality and beauty. “I love it—it definitely helps make it pop,” says Hutchison.
For this thoughtful addition, Clark used a knotty alder finished in a French roast shade. It’s a perfect match for the home’s farmhouse aesthetic. “[It] has a similar grain to cherry,” she says. “But you get some knots and holes, which gives it a little more of a rustic feel.”
Carrying that theme through the kitchen, Clark used the same wood for wine storage in the bar area and on the end of the island. The two large structural beams on either end of the island were once encased in oak. The wood was replaced with drywall, so they no longer catch the eye for the wrong reasons.
Adjacent to the island, a former bar area is now a favorite spot for the owners. It’s used for coffee in the morning and drinks at the end of the day. Clark designed the space to include an icemaker and an XO beverage refrigerator, each half optimized for mixers and chilling bottles of wine. Above the fridge, cabinets have glass fronts to showcase their wares. A storage space (in knotty alder) holds additional bottles of wine. An intricate backsplash in polished natural marble further jazzes up the space.
Situated across from the sliding glass door that leads to the backyard, the new bar area is a perfect spot for guests to help themselves to drinks—or for the hosts to top off glasses on their way outside
During the day, natural light floods the kitchen. The sliding glass door affords unobstructed views, and two skylights above the kitchen sink help bring the outside in. A three-pane casement window frames the view of the yard like a living piece of art.
To elevate the space, Clark swapped an existing double-bowl sink for a stainless steel farmhouse version. “It’s a little more commercial looking, but it suits that kitchen well,” she says.
Above the island, an elegant fixture has replaced its oak-lined predecessor. A new chandelier suspended above the kitchen table adds an element of interest, its spherical shape subtly drawing the eye.
Undercabinet lighting was added throughout the kitchen, providing warmth. Hutchison wanted the same lighting above the wall cabinets. So Clark’s design dropped the crown molding to leave space for the lights, which give off a gentle glow come nightfall.
Hutchison wanted a kitchen that would accommodate his cooking prowess. A home chef who enjoys entertaining, he went with top-of-the-line appliances, including a Bosch double oven, a Fisher & Paykel cooktop and a Miele dishwasher, the latter paneled. “This way, it just blends with the cabinetry, which I think is a really nice, cohesive look,” says Clark.
An existing Subzero refrigerator/freezer is also paneled, and a spice-rack cabinet hides pantry staples, leaving the countertops clear.
All of this combines for a kitchen that suits the family’s aesthetic and lifestyle. “It’s a focal point for entertaining and just hanging out,” says Hutchison. “Right from the beginning, [Clark] understood what I was trying to accomplish.”