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Kitchen Redo: Living the Island Life

Designer Kerry Fidler renovates a kitchen for semi-retired homeowners to include stainless appliances, a granite-topped island and ample storage.

When interior designer Kerry Fidler was hired to remodel an entire house, he treated the kitchen-cum-family room, the first visible space via the front and garage entrances, as the center of change. Taking into consideration the clients’ wishes for a comfortable Zen-like elegance, he took down walls and drenched newly open spaces with natural light.

Around a generously sized multipurpose granite-topped island, Kerry designed a balanced space that included hard-working kitchen essentials on one side and a cozy conversation and screen-viewing area on the other. After applying neutral colors and natural textures that emulated shells, gems, metals and billowy clouds, Kerry arrived at an exquisite and serene gathering spot that his clients always wanted. Kerry talks more about the project.

What were items on the homeowners' wish list?

My clients wanted to live in a totally new way in an open space that was light, calming, casual, warm and inviting, and where colors blend and space flows. It was essential for the kitchen to blend in and feel natural and to be a place that felt comfortable in pajamas or cocktail attire.

Originally, the kitchen was hidden from view by a cramped entry marked by two archways and high partitions. We had to take down some walls and build others up to full height to get it right. Our main mission was to open up the space and let light filter in.

It's always a challenge to create intimacy and a sense of warmth in a space with hard, cold shiny surfaces and 12’-high sloped ceilings. We felt that the rustic bucket lights suspended on hand-distressed chain and lowered over the island brought the space down. And then the weathered gray wood bar stools made it cozy.

My clients constantly rave about the space and I know they love it because they hang out there all the time. I gave them a central gathering spot that was posh and fully functional. The man of the house is in the construction business and the remodel actually surpassed his expectations.

We decided to remove the popcorn ceiling and orange-peel wall texture with skim coat near the end of the project. The process made a huge mess. I can laugh now because it all turned out great, but it is now ingrained: Do all the demo first and then start with a clean plate!

I love the reverse bevel on the granite island and the humble buckets above it. Also beyond the design scheme, I had a really great connection with my clients and builder.

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