The busiest kitchen at 7 Tide is at the front of the showroom. Most days chefs are busy cooking, testing recipes and crafting bites for customers who come through to browse appliances and kitchen designs. When customers purchase a Sub-Zero or Wolf appliance, they pull up a seat to the counter and chefs who are on staff demonstrate how to use it by producing full meals.
Ken Schaefer, owner of Right Angle Kitchens and Design is the designer of the contemporary mid-century modern kitchen that is host to the production of so many great dishes. A graduate of Northeastern University and Boston Architectural College, Schaefer has been in the kitchen design business for 25 years, and in that time he’s seen the room become increasingly more important to homeowners. Kitchens are where people gather and spend a lot of their time. “Frank Lloyd Wright always said that the kitchen is the center of the home and finally people have realized he’s right,” says Schaefer.
Schaefer enjoys the challenge of marrying form and function in each new project. “Not only because they are in the center of the household do they have to look better than ever before, but it also needs to function.”
Two years ago, when he laid out the plans for the kitchen at 7 Tide he was seeing a shift towards mid-century modern in the city. “I wanted to put my own contemporary spin on a mid-century modern kitchen,” says Schaefer.
The white kitchen that skillfully integrates 14 Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances is framed in walnut. “If I had to pick the most popular wood out there today it would be walnut,” says Schaefer. “It has a good natural feel versus your cherry woods that are red, or maples, which are yellow. Walnut has that neutral brown color to it while still having a wonderful graining and a sense of formality to it.”
The cabinets by Plain and Fancy are Cascade White, and the showstopper is the backsplash by Alys Edwards. The large size of the kitchen and the space above the sink provided the ideal spot for this unique centerpiece of calacatta marble and stainless steel.
Schaefer plans to design many more kitchens, including his own, which is an arts and crafts-style kitchen in cherry wood. His favorite part of his job continues to be the impact the right designs can have on his clients. “I love correcting what people didn’t think was possible in their space and knowing that by changing a kitchen, you will end up changing eighty percent of someone’s life,” he says.
Right Angle Kitchens and Design works on close to 100 kitchens a year in the Greater Boston area. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, we asked Schaefer about emerging trends in the industry, and here’s what he told us:
Schaefer has been noticing a shift from marble counters to a much more natural quartzite. “I think because of looks and also people are starting to play with texture in countertops, which has been really kind of cool, so we are seeing leathered and fired finishes, and a variety of different veining.”
“White kitchens have always been popular, but in the last 5 to 7 years we’ve seen even more,” he says. “We’ll do almost 90 kitchens this year and at least 70 will be white.” Benjamin Moore’s White Dove is a popular choice.
While homeowners are sticking with white and neutral tones, pops of color are slowly making their way into kitchens, especially on islands. “I think islands are a great way for people to express color,” says Schaefer. “Also, if they want to change the color down the road, it’s easy to repaint it, so it’s a good place to start.”
Since people gravitate towards the kitchen, Schaefer has been installing more kitchen lounges for his clients. “We’ll create space for two or three seats around the kitchen area, so you are able to have a cup of coffee or sit in there with a laptop,” he says. “Rather than a seat at the kitchen island, it’s a comfy seat off to the side, it’s just another place to hang out near the kitchen.”