A fun-loving Wyckoff couple had their fill of a kitchen design that stood in the way of easy-breezy gatherings. And pandemic or no pandemic, it was time to be liberated from the creamy cabinets and welcome the very essence of Party Planning 101 (and family life): more counter space.
“The real clincher was COVID,” says homeowner Joanne. “We were all home, and that’s when we realized how limiting that two-tier island is.” Though the kitchen itself was spacious, the old island’s design had the couple and their daughter all converging on the same small prep area.
But how could they dare tackle this job during COVID? Designer Terri Fiori of Wyckoff-based Fiori Interior Design explains that protocols such as daily temperature checks and open windows kept everyone safe when the work started in January. “Everything went like clockwork because we were able to work in advance,” adds Fiori, citing last year’s Zoom planning sessions. They also capitalized on the early delivery of appliances, stored in the basement until needed.
Today, with many COVID restrictions lifting, this family can let the good times roll in a kitchen that has been ready for action since March.
“We made better use of the space, and we focused on the island,” says Fiori.
Though stylish, with light maple and white quartz in the perimeter counters, the new island also makes function king. Late-night snacks are no problem with Alexa- activated, under-cabinet lighting. Another nod to function is the use of the ergonomic handles and Rohl farmhouse sink with Brizo faucet—touchless, of course.
Rattan-back bar stools with leather-look cocoa seats are easy-wipe, ideal for dining or when the kitchen turns into a home office. The nearby walnut table can fit the entire gang, including three grown children, one of whom lives at home.
Repainting to just refresh the scene was dismissed in favor of new white cabinetry by Craig Allen Designs paired with existing oak floors. Again, one finds bells and whistles such as pullout spice shelves and a hutch with charging station. Bonus: Taller cabinets take advantage of 9-foot ceilings, says Fiori.
The star of the design, hands down, is the Wolf range custom hood by Range Craft, with its brushed stainless-steel finish and brushed gold banding. Of the kitchen’s Midas touch, Fiori says: “It’s nice and warm against the soft white of the cabinetry.” Ditto for the brushed brass lanterns. So as not to upstage the hood, Fiori kept the backsplash on the simpler side with sparkling white dolomite.
With blue paint against a honed white quartz, the Butler’s pantry stands out for its glass mosaic, making it a “jewelry box of an area,” Fiori says. Another feature that sees a lot of action is the coffee bar, with honed black granite counters and glass shelves.
Overall, “they wanted to make it more transitional but not too modern,” says the designer. It could have been a challenge with the center-hall colonial’s traditional style, but Joanne says Fiori tied it all in perfectly.
It was also important for the family to be earth-friendly, which meant donating their old cabinets to Fairfield-based Restoration Angel. They also made a point of working with local companies—such as Master’s Interiors in Clifton for the bar- stools. Now this family truly has something to celebrate: an eco-friendly project that scores for both style and function.
“We love our island,” says Joanne. “We sit there most nights.” And when she entertains again? “I’m sure it will be equally nice.”
Text by D.M. Sylvester
Design by Terri Fiori
Photography by Mike Van Tassell