A Fairy Tale Find
A classic cottage in Arden gets an update by going back to its roots.
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Jester installs kitchens for Wilmington designer Sue Komins. Among his many projects was a kitchen renovation in his own period home. He was confident he could give The Castle the kitchen it deserved.
“When you consider that most people keep a kitchen at least 20 years, it makes more and more sense to invest in a new one,” Jester says.
Jester and his wife are both vegetarians. Both are keen on gardening and dancing. And they also were in blissful agreement about how to approach renovating the weary kitchen and the cheerless laundry room that joined it.
Their strategy was to improve the function and flow of the spaces but stay true to the Arts and Crafts style of their home, so they chose cabinetry, hardware and decorative tile with a vintage vibe.
“It was critical to both of us that the project be in keeping with the house,” Jester says.
The final plan called for classic, Shaker-style cabinets in cherry wood with patinated oiled bronze knobs. He also used oak floors that echo flooring in the rest of the house. The fridge and dishwasher are disguised with paneled fronts. The microwave is hidden in a custom cabinet.
“I can’t stand microwaves,” Jester says. “They shouldn’t be visible.”
Muted green tiles on the backsplash are set on the diagonal to mimic the diamond-shaped window panes. Decorative insets are embellished with a ginkgo flower motif, each set in a quarter turn so they “spin” around the room. Electrical outlets were installed on the underside of the upper cabinets so they don’t break up the expanse of tile.
Jester refurbished the circa-1950 exhaust fan above the stove because a traditional hood would have blocked the bank of windows behind the range.
“I can stand at the stove and see everything that’s going on outside,” Somerville says. “There aren’t many stoves with a view.”
In years past, she closed off the uninviting laundry room when guests visited. Today the space is a bright and welcoming butler’s pantry, ideal for entertaining. The same Shaker-style cabinets installed in the kitchen were carried into the pantry and brightened with lemon yellow paint. Dog food is stored in a pull-out cabinet designed for trash and recycling.
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