A Connecticut Kitchen Remodel Has Modern Farmhouse Looks
The muted palette and hand-finished surfaces make this space look like it had been here a while
- Homeowners: A couple, after settling into their 1990s country house, worked with their interior designer, who posted their kitchen remodel on Sweeten
- Where: Fairfield County, CT
- Primary renovation: To transform a 200-square-foot kitchen-family room into the ultimate living spot
- With: Sweeten general contractor
- Designer’s quote: “[Our general contractor] took the time to make sure we understood the pros and cons of every decision. He let me drive the design, but didn’t do so blindly.”
Written in partnership with designer Hilary Tate (on the right in photo above) and homeowner June R. “After” photos by Videler Photography.
A kitchen levels up
“Our dream had always been to have a kitchen that met all of our needs,” said June R., a retired retail store owner, preschool teacher, and volunteer. The functional everything room that interior designer Hilary Tate built was the dream come to life.
June, her husband, and their dog adored their early-’90s home in the Connecticut countryside. When they purchased it, she recalls, it was “with the intention of renovating the kitchen space so that it opened up into a large family room.” The pair wanted to create a bright space for doing just about anything, with a sightline that stretched from kitchen island to couch-and-TV area.
That was where Hilary came in, a friend of the family’s for a decade. The designer and founder of Brooklyn’s Brick + Palm Interiors Studio had a vision. “For me, integrating a beautiful new kitchen into a several-decades-old home without it looking out of place was the biggest challenge,” said the interiors expert.
A designer in search of a contractor in CT
The Fairfield County home had been built about 30 years ago. It had the style, as June likes to say, “of a rather modern, atypical farmhouse.” The single-family structure had a large screened-in porch just off the kitchen and family room. That meant the exterior walls were visible through the windows. The kitchen, Hilary said, “needed to play off the exterior architecture as well as integrate with the interior.”
Wheels turning, she came to us to find a contractor. “My biggest question was how to find a contractor out-of-state, since I am New York-based. Sweeten was a lifesaver. I posted my project, sharing that I needed a contractor who would be patient and detail-oriented. They also needed access to an engineer capable of removing a support post in the middle of the kitchen. It was so easy. I had several replies within a few hours.”
During planning, Hilary recalls, the Sweeten general contractor “took the time to make sure we understood the pros and cons of every decision. He let me drive the design, but didn’t do so blindly.” As the project progressed, Hilary ensured that needed supplies were ordered and delivered, while the GC communicated with and managed the subcontractors. He was on top of the process, June said, “100 percent of the time.” Sweeten brings homeowners an exceptional renovation experience by personally matching trusted general contractors to your project, while offering expert guidance and support—at no cost to you.
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Fixing structural, plumbing, and electrical issues
After the kitchen was gutted down to the studs and the ceiling was opened, infrastructure changes began. These, the homeowner said, were “more than we’d imagined,” and significant, since the couple lived in the house through the entire renovation. They updated electrical systems, revamped plumbing, and also installed a sound system while the walls and ceiling were open.
Next, the team removed a vertical support beam from the kitchen’s center, a change that necessitated the installation of an I-beam in the ceiling. (The contractors also installed concrete supporting posts in the basement, for supplemental load support.)
Choosing unique finishes
Refinishing floors was the next step. “We replaced boards only in areas that had previously been covered by the original kitchen fixtures,” June said. When that process was complete, the kitchen floor got a sanding, a restaining, and a seal.
“We definitely did not want a ‘white kitchen,’” June explained, adding that they were looking not for stark newness but for relaxed colors that had a little age to it. Custom cabinetry, once assembled, received two sprayed coats of primer, followed by two coats of hand-brushed, oil-based paint. “The light color,” the homeowner said, “is not a pure white, but a white with a grayish overtone that softens it considerably.”
The large island’s base is painted a muted blue that has depth without feeling overbearing. “It was important that the paints be oil-based and hand-brushed,” June said. “The subtle brush strokes bring dimension—rather than the ‘no depth,’ bright, lacquered quality of sprayed-on paint.”
A hardy kitchen countertop
When it came to the counters and island surfaces, June said they needed to be durable, washable, and resistant to wine and water stains. “We chose quartzite,” she said. “The surfaces are beautiful and provide a continuous flow throughout the kitchen.” Adds Hilary, “The veining in the quartzite has both silver and gold, and brings other elements together nicely. We brought in warm golden tones in the faucet and cabinet hardware to balance out the coolness of the stainless-steel appliances and the blue island.”
Contractor know-how for the win
For Hilary, “my contractor really walked me through every step of the process and patiently answered every question. Throughout the project, Sweeten checked in regularly to make sure everything was going well.”
June said that, starting out, her biggest questions were about costs and timeframes. Due to changes in costs for raw materials, the project went over its initial budget. “This is important to keep in mind, as there is no control over that. An estimate is just that, an estimate,” she explained.
However, the surprise was the ultimate result. The room, she said, “is completely integrated into the aesthetic and sensibility of the house—there is no appearance of a ‘new kitchen’ that doesn’t fit in impeccably. We love it. It is truly the beating heart and hearth of our home.”
Thank you, June and Hilary, for sharing your new kitchen with us!
- Perimeter cabinets in Silver Satin #OC-26 paint; island cabinets in Van Deusen Blue #HC-156: Benjamin Moore
- Custom kitchen cabinets: Sourced through contractor
- Knurled cabinet hardware: Schoolhouse
- Ocean Blue quartzite countertops: BAS Stone NYC
- Vertical stack 2×6 backsplash tile: Heath Ceramics
- Sink: Franke
- Descanso faucet in brushed brass: California Faucets
- Thermador refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove: Thermador
- Grain light pendants: Ravenhill Studio