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NH Home - Kitchen Showcase - A Beautiful Bistro

No matter how big the house, the kitchen is where the family gathers, whether to cook meals, eat dinner or entertain.

Certified kitchen designer Janice Page of PKsurroundings in Exeter has guided many clients to achieving the home of their dreams, so she was happy to finally address her own kitchen.

Four years ago, Janice and her husband purchased their 1920s-era house, which had undergone several additions over the years. They loved it, but the kitchen was an awkward space with too many entry points and almost no contiguous wall space. “There were no windows, a huge chimney and it was very challenging to work in,” explains Janice. “We love to cook and entertain, and wanted a kitchen that satisfied our needs.”

Meeting the challenge would bring all of Janice’s experience and creativity to bear. Ultimately, she and her husband opted for the feel of an Old World bistro, creating cozy work stations and seating areas, and embracing the existing brick by partnering it with rich, dark hues, quartzite and wood surfaces, gleaming polished nickel and antiqued brass. The transformation is stunning, and gives the couple a touch of Europe in the heart of their home.

“We had to do major demolition work to see how we could best configure the space,” says Janice. “We cut into a wall to determine how wide the chimney was, and realized we couldn’t alter these entry points. Once we were down to basics, we planned the kitchen to have several main zones.

“The first zone is for cooking, with a range, prep counters and sink,” she notes. “We took out a small bathroom to give this area the space it needed. I wanted a sink right by the range, so you don’t have to step far to empty a pot of boiling water or wash items prior to cooking.

“Tying in with this area is the baking section. This is tucked under a nearby staircase and includes a second oven, microwave and coffee station. Next is the smoothie station, and here we have a set of Sub-Zero under-counter drawers, a sink, pull-out trash and storage for a large blender. The nearby pantry opens up to reveal storage for dry goods and counter space for prepping.”

A large island houses the main sink, dishwasher and more storage, with seating on the other side. Janice was clever at concealing other kitchen aids, such as a stepstool hidden in the toe kick, a backsplash panel that opens for cooking oils, and a television hidden in a wall cabinet.

The kitchen’s dark and dramatic look is brightened by a thoughtful mix of textures, from the banded-metal range hood, hammered-metal fusion cabinet doors and gold nail heads on black cabinets, to the metallic tile and antiqued-brass fixtures. Brick-like tile, which mirrors the chimney, was used in the cooking area for added impact. Leathered quartzite in shades of gray and brown gives an aged patina to the kitchen counters, island and backsplash. Completing the look is a stunning hickory floor, hand-laid in a herringbone pattern with a high-gloss finish.

Janice and her husband love the revitalized space. “It makes the house feel complete,” she says. “Now we can live like we want to live.”


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