Design by Cozette Brown Interior Designs
Photography by David Gardiner
Text by Marisa Sandora Carr
Judi McDermott and Jon Fahey both grew up spending time on a lake—swimming, boating and enjoying all that lake living had to offer. So when an old, 1,000-square-foot log cabin directly on Cupsaw Lake in Ringwood went up for sale, they bought it for its prime location. “We owned a house about a mile and a half away, but this was right on the water and on the middle part of the lake where the water was deeper,” recalls McDermott, “so we jumped on it.”
Fahey wanted to keep the rustic feel of the log cabin as much as possible, but McDermott wanted a modern kitchen. It was up to Cozette Brown of Cozette Brown Interior Designs in Ringwood— not to referee, but to synthesize. Says Fahey: “She did an amazing job marrying those two goals.”
Before, the kitchen was a tiny, 6-by-8-foot enclave that was very closed in and did not have lake views. The builder, Jim Ross of Angel Ridge North, was able to reconfigure that space and a dining room and create a library and a much larger kitchen featuring a showstopping wall of windows. “I really wanted a farm sink, and I wanted it to look over the lake,” says McDermott. “That was important to me, and I love the way it turned out.”
Only 5-foot-2, McDermott didn’t want upper cabinets, which she always found difficult to reach, so instead Brown designed open shelving, which also allowed for more windows and loads of natural light to flood the space. A long island provided massive amounts of counter space, plus plenty of storage. Now the family can hang out on the comfy barstools while someone is cooking, and a small breakfast nook provides even more seating and another place to work.
Despite the fact that they each come from large families, McDermott and Fahey didn’t want a dining room in their new home. “We never really used the dining room,” says McDermott. “Our family doesn’t really function that way. We like to be in the kitchen, where everyone pitches in with cooking. On Christmas Day, some 30-odd people gather in the kitchen, but we still have room for people to move around. There’s so much space.”
A six-burner BlueStar range helps when they have lots of people to cook for. The larger stove was another wish of McDermott’s, but she didn’t want a cookie-cutter hood. “Cozette worked really hard to figure out how to create this handcrafted hood from reclaimed wood, which tied the space to the more rustic breezeway and living room,” says Fahey.
“It was all about how to create a cohesive flow from the old to the new,” explains Brown. “The hood, the shelves and the beams tie it together.”
Despite the couple’s desire to maintain the integrity of the original log cabin, they didn’t want a red-and-black “lumberjack” look in their home. The kitchen wall covered in A-Street Prints’ “Anemone” wallpaper from Brewster Home Fashions certainly gave the new space a more modern, fresh feel. “The ceiling there was originally not as high, but the roof had to be completely rebuilt, so the wall ended up becoming a focal point,” says Brown. “I wanted something that would bring together all the various colors and make that space feel inviting.”
McDermott was originally a little hesitant to go with something so eye-catching, but she’s glad she did. “The wallpaper is one of our favorite parts of the kitchen,” she says. “This very bold print against the blue cabinets and the wood is just perfection.”
Being able to sit at the kitchen island, looking out at a spectacular sunset over the water, makes the 18 months of design and construction worth it. “When you can come home from work and stare out of the windows at the water, it’s just a really relaxing, amazing feeling,” says McDermott.