Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Martha's Vineyard Kitchen

When I started to design the kitchen for Wynn and Catherine Newhouse, I needed to consider the challenges of barrier free design since Wynn used a wheel chair.
One important aspect of this project was to create a home that Wynn could use without it looking institutional.
I tried to incorporate the tweaks needed in a way that looked like they were just fun design elements.
Since this was Wynn and Catherine's vacation home, I wanted the feeling of the cabinetry to be whimsical and countrified.
So I came up with the slogan.....
As Wynn's MS continued to attack his body, we needed laughter and joy to fill this home.
One important aspect of the function of the kitchen was his ability to use the 
He loved his toaster oven and made a BIG point of having a special easy access area for its residence.
We found a simple country table that I set under the windows for just this purpose.
In the magazine shot, we moved it for editorial reasons, but the function of that little table was for the TOASTER OVEN.
Wynn was able to roll up to it and make his bagels with a schmear of cream cheese.
In the current owner's incarnation of this room, they've added another cabinet between the two windows.
I got the picture of the current owner's rendition of the space from Vignette Design's blog.

(BTW, if you don't follow that blog, she is doing an amazing renovation of her new home in California. Her landscape design is stellar!!!!!)
They've copied the legs of my cabinetry, but if you look closely, you can see that instead of creating a crown molding like the wall cabinets, they incorporated the window molding to wrap around the top of the cabinet, using my little half circle embellishment that I applied throughout the home.

Here's a closeup of the detail on the windows.
Boy!!!!I wish they had digital cameras back when I designed this home.
I could have really shown the details up close and personal for you guys!!!!!
Over the stove I designed a tile backsplash of a steam boat. Wynn collected oil paintings of steam boats and we hung them all around the house, including one in the kitchen between the pair of windows.
When I say.....I designed the backsplash.....
I mean I found the tiles and convinced Catherine to use them for the backsplash.....
To the left of the stove was the largest cabinet in the kitchen.
I wanted it to look like a freestanding hutch, so I added little brackets with a shelf for the splash of the piece, as well as making it all beadboard.
This was eons before everyone started doing this.....just sayin'.
The Traditional Home article was published in July of 1997, and I had been working on the house for 2 years, and it took a year for the magazine to print after the pictures.....
So I did this design in 1994!!!!!
Jesh, that's over 20 years ago.....
Someone stick a fork in me.....I think I'm done.
I used carrara marble for the countertops.
I can't tell you the number of times I've had the stone guys I've bought from over the years tell me not to do this.
I do it all the time.
Right now.....
as we speak.....(or read...).....
I have some in my very own kitchen just waiting for me to stain it!!!!!
I've had it for 11 years and it hasn't happened yet.
It's got lots of rings you can see in the surface when the light hits it a certain way, but that's because I haven't resealed it in all the years I've had it.
For the toekick, I measured how much room Wynn needed for his feet to fit under the cabinet.
The toekick ended up being 8 inches high.
To keep it from looking like a contemporary detail, I designed the big fat stubby legs to fit on either side of the piece.
The current owners painted the kitchen a deep chocolate brown that contrasts nicely with all the white cabinetry.
I had painted it a buttery yellow for a cheerful light and airy feel.
For the sink, I needed to design a way that Wynn could roll up to use it without it looking like a nursing home, so I designed a pair of
big honking legs!!!!!
Over the sink we stored the blue and white china we found to go with the house.
In the shot below, you can get the overall feeling of the room with it's cathedral wooden ceiling and beamed structure.
Since I don't like a vacuum.....
I filled the wall with stuff!
This was the oil painting of a steamship I had mentioned earlier.
We also hung a clock, because that's what you need in a kitchen.....
I had to have plates on the wall.
Catherine had collected these ship plates, so I felt they would just be great to continue the nautical theme.
Cause if one of something is good.....
I had seen a picture in a magazine of a wonderful circle pattern in a tin ceiling.
I couldn't find it, so I set my trust architect, Les Brown, to hunt it down.
I don't know how he did it, but he found it.
I love it for a couple of reasons.
It continues the circle them I used throughout the project in the architectural details.....
and it had a nautical feel to it that I just loved!!!!!
 I still remember the late afternoon when Les and I were working on the design of this kitchen.
He used to come over to my home/office/sweatshop and work with me at the drafting board.
He never brought his own pencil, so we were always fighting over who got to draw.
He chose these big brackets, and I remember it so clearly.
I had no idea that they were so large, not looking at the dimensions in the catalog he had brought.
They just looked really plain and boring.
Then he drew them in and 
I learned an architectural lesson that I still use to this day.
The scale of the brackets just blew me away.
on that note.....
I need to get back to my fabric design.
I just need to create one more pattern, and we can launch in the spring.
We were going to launch last spring.....
Then we moved it to the fall, now we are aiming more realistically for this spring.
I've gotten some of the patterns samples back from the printer and I am so excited I could  
just PLOTZ!!!!!
These are not going to be cheap, guys.....
and only available through designers.....
So I'm sorry if some of you were expecting to get them through this website.
But when they launch, I will be showing them to you all.
There will be a three yard minimum,
just right for adding some toss pillows to the room for a punch of ME!

Latah, Gatah


Sunflowers With Smiles said...


Vikki said...

Love this kitchen and I much prefer the walls in yellow. Your fabric won't be for sale at Joann Fabrics? Vikki in VA

Dolores said...

Your kitchen design from 1997 stills feels current to me- I could move right in and continue to be happy there. A bit of paint and it all loks good to go for the next 20 years! I am just redoing my own kitchen after 25 yrs of daily hard use, it surely was time for an upgrade. I did have a little cry when my husband pulled off the old hand painted botanical backsplash tiles, but they just wouldn't have worked with the new soapstone counters. But he saved them and will make me a nice tray so al is not lost.
Looking forward to seeing your new fabric line, even if the price will be daunting :-)

Jeannine520 said...

Beautiful kitchen. I liked it your way better without the cabinet between the windows. One is good, tons is better doesn't apply to everything, like husbands.

td said...

Just gorgeous. I also prefer the yellow wall colour and the table instead of the hutch. It looks especially overwhelming with the high contrast brown paint. I also wonder what happened to the heating outlet than runs behind it? I like to make things my own, but recognize perfection when I see it.
The sink detail is really amazing. It's this sort of creative solution that separates the pros from the wannabees.

Marilyn in Mt. Vernon, VA said...

Love the kitchen in brown. So chic.

Lionors said...

Wow. What a gorgeous example of universal design. I'm really surprised we don't see more of this today, or maybe it's out there and I am missing it? What other considerations did you have to make for the client and his chair?

Anonymous said...

I loved that home from the first time I read about it. I have been in love with Universal Design ever since. We've moved many times and have re-done many homes during my husband's career. We've always tried to make our homes fit our needs. I don't understand why homes are not made for the entire family-young, middle and elderly people can all be accommodated with a bit of forethought. Thank you. Pam B.

lala said...

Amazing that you designed this space 20 years ago. You definitely were a visionary to use marble for countertops and beadboard in the hutch. You designed a kitchen that is timeless. It's almost as if you were able to see into the future - white cabinets, marble counters, stainless appliances and a farmhouse vibe - you my dear are a decorating genius!!!

Jaybird said...

"a little is good,
a lot is better,
and way too much is
just about right!!"
You are an amazing and gifted decorator.....
I am really looking forward to seeing the new fabrics!

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