Before and After: A Kitchen Expands for Family Gathering

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Before and After: A Kitchen Expands for Family Gathering

Photograph by Jared Kuzia

For Matt Ostrowski, one of the owners of Covenant LLC (covenantllc.com), a residential building company, the time had come to address his own house in Essex, Massachusetts. He and his wife Iana knew their kitchen needed an overhaul to accommodate their eight sons, daughter, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren. “With a family our size, it felt like we were hosting an event almost every night of the week…even if it was just us,” says Ostrowski. “Our dining room table didn’t fit enough people and everyone fought over seating at the peninsula.”

After mapping out a renovation, Matt asked his neighbor and regular work collaborator, interior designer Kristina Crestin, to take a look (kristinacrestindesign.com). “Matt is one on my favorite builders to work with,” says Crestin. “He had a plan and I think he just wanted a blessing.” But once she listened to what the family really needed, Crestin suggested swapping the spaces. After a few moments of consideration, Ostrowski and his wife were sold on the radical idea.

“In a matter of minutes, Kristina had put my kitchen in my dining room and created a huge banquette area where my sink and refrigerator currently resided.” The island would now easily seat six and whomever was cooking would be connected to the living room. “Iana had a big smile on her face and even though my project just increased in cost substantially, I knew it would be perfect,” says Ostrowski.

Ostrowski and the Covenant team took his kitchen and dining room down to the studs. He and his sons repurposed the fir bead-board from the old walls for the banquette, crafted their new dining table from reclaimed hard pine planking and cast iron machine lathe legs and used some of the former dining room’s heart pine flooring for framing and surrounds. The Wolf range and Sub-Zero refrigerator bookend large windows so the family’s view to their backyard and lake beyond is not blocked. “It shows how voluminous appliances can be tucked in successfully,” says Crestin.

“They wanted to maintain the farmhouse feel and were also definitely willing to take color risks,” says Crestin. So together Crestin and the couple chose blue for the cabinets, opted for natural materials, pendant lamps and wall scones. “This kitchen is a really good example of how the design process has value,” says Crestin.

After all the construction, painting and plumbing was finally done, the Ostrowski family could at last spread out and enjoy their new space. “Oma came over and we had our first dinner together at the table,” says Ostrowski. “Now we were now ready for the company Christmas party!”

BEFORE

AFTER

Photograph by Jared Kuzia