Design by Lisa Walzer, Walzer Architecture
Photography by Mike Van Tassell
Text by Don London
When homeowner Linda Cabasin visited BKC of Westfield expecting to review a “rainbow of whites” for the kitchen her architect Lisa Walzer had newly redesigned, she noticed a wall of deep blue cabinetry—and fell in love. The striking indigo color felt somehow traditional, and Walzer agreed, suggesting an “accent wall” to play off the white counters and cabinets across the room. Linda and her husband, Mike Squires, were excited to replace their worn-out dark wood cabinets with a brighter, more modern palette while retaining the wood flooring and trim to match the warmth of their historic carriage house in Summit.
“It’s kind of a nice balance,” says Walzer. “This blue is gorgeous,” says Linda. Later she realized she’d been collecting blue decorative objects for years. “You’ll see there’s some spongeware, bowls from Pakistan and a little pitcher from friends—I never knew how much I liked blue.” The decision enriched the symphony of color in the revitalized kitchen.
Having renovated two previous houses, Linda and Mike were experienced with the complexity of such projects. Their present home was converted to a livable space by a pioneering woman architect in the 1940s. The homeowners wanted to retain that legacy, but the original layout was cramped, and it was time to say goodbye to a front powder room. Mike was thrilled that the renovation “actually improved the way the whole house worked. We now have a view out the front window when we’re sitting in the kitchen, and that’s been a wonderful part of it.”
Walzer opened up the space to provide one long work area, tripling their counter space. “The cabinet style is modern, but really Shaker since it has recessed panels,” she says. She orchestrated the composition which now allows several people to work together harmoniously. “The kitchen had some old charm,” she says, “but wasn’t functional for two people to cook in.”
During the design process, Linda and Mike made a fateful decision. “Sometimes it’s good to follow the truisms of renovation, and one of them is ‘Look at a slab,’” says Linda. “If you’re picking a countertop, look at the material.”
Walzer concurs. “I loved working on the project,” she says. “I’m proud of how it came out. Mike and Linda weren’t naïve about the renovation process.” Balance, color and integrity came to a crescendo when the maestro managed to conduct a team of knowledgeable clients.