Maggie McManus - February 15, 2018

Kitchen Design and Renovation from Traditional to Transitional in a New Canaan, CT Home

How a renovation in New Canaan, CT updated a Traditional Kitchen to have a modern Transitional style

Recently Betsy and Michael reached out to me to for a redesign to take their New Canaan Kitchen from traditional to transitional. They wanted the kitchen’s new transitional look to be fresh and light while still welcoming and warm. I already knew the kitchen well because my company had done the previous kitchen renovation twenty years ago for their 6000 square foot New Canaan traditional home. The existing kitchen was traditional in a French style…warm wood tones, strong raised panels and rustic backsplash tiles. It included a very large island with a wood top that divided the space but did not include seating. Also in the kitchen is a significant fieldstone fireplace that needed to be considered in the overall design plan. The colors used 20 years ago were in the earth tones, wheat, sage and terra cotta. The time had come for a change.

Betsy and I started the process by going on a New Canaan kitchen renovation tour to look together for elements that we  responded to. This was a productive exercise.

With this foundation I put together ideas for color and materials that were light but warm. Modern, clean lines for the layout and cabinet style, yet rich in feeling and texture. We developed a layout that engendered socialization while respecting kitchen task areas, hanging out areas, a table to seat eight, and a compact home office area.

A Transitional look needs to bridge traditional concepts to a modern aesthetic. This means gleaning the meaningful aspects of both i.e. materials, line, function and using them to create a coherent whole.

Looking at their newly renovated kitchen you can see examples of this. We used a warm paint on the cabinets making them light but not a white kitchen. We used a warm grey Farrow and Ball Skimming Stone. We recycled the former walnut island top for their new island, reshaping it to include island seating, and we painted the interiors Tangerine.

View looking into the kitchen area

Kitchen work areas for defined purposes

There are 3 distinct work areas. One is the Cook area with a 36” Wolfe commercial grade 6 burner cook top, with storage for pots and pans, lids and all utensils needed for cooking underneath. The double ovens are adjacent to a shared counter.

The second is the prep area adjacent to the commercial style burners. This area features full size sink, a paneled dishwasher, undercounter refrigerator, and a trash, recycling unit. This area also doubles as a bar when the New Canaan couple is entertaining guests.

Kitchen cooking area

The third area has the large main sink for prep and clean-up. This is the center of the kitchen with a 24” fully integrated Sub Zero freezer/refrigerator as well as an under-counter ice maker. The island with it’s walnut top and seating makes this a central gathering place.

We accented the interiors of the cabinets with a strong Tangerine color to excite the room and ground it to the other warm elements in the space i.e. the dark walnut toned floor and wood  island and field stone fireplace.

We selected fabrics that would complement and accent this color to further integrate the room. Always the room ought to be a whole thought and elements of color texture and form make this happen. We used clean, modern counter material…manmade for durability and homogeneity . Organic White by Caesarstone.

The other hard surface the tile backsplash we used a modern version of the traditional subway tile. Crisp white tiles in a 4×10 shape with a burnished pewter hand hammered liner for soul and texture. This liner softens the white tiles while making the backsplash interesting without being overpowering, and picks up the stainless steel appliances.

Backsplash subway tile

The Island lights play off the modern edge but stay traditional and the metal once again reinforces an earthy quality.

View from kitchen into dining area

The three kids were off to college and the way the family socialized had changed. More big groups, more time cooking together, more time hanging out when the kids are home.The space needed to address the new function as well as a new look.

We were back most recently to update the family room furniture, window coverings and colors.. and the powder room too. You can see these other spaces as well. Our goal was, again, transitional clean lines with comfortable luxury.

Living Room

I think we succeeded. You decide.