Before & After: This Colorful Boston Kitchen Revamp Is Filled with Clever Storage Nooks

updated Oct 24, 2019
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Credit: Eric Roth Photography

Makeover by: Liz Caan of Liz Caan & Co.
Location:  Boston, Massachusetts

My client — a single male with grown children who live across the country — needed a small place in Boston, where he lived many years ago. He purchased this small, two-bedroom units inside of a handsome turn-of-the-century stucco corner building in Beacon Hill — ideally located on the flat the Hill. 

The Obstacle

The kitchen needed a significant amount of work to bring it up to today’s living standards. It looked like a spaceship from the 1960’s landed in this historic apartment — complete with laminate cabinets, countertops, and floors. The appliances and plumbing were out of date and it wasn’t jiving with the rest of the unit or the building.

Credit: Eric Roth Photography

The Process

The kitchen needed to function well and also be more integrated in style and purpose with the adjacent spaces. Simply put, there was no hiding this kitchen. The client liked to entertain small groups when he was in town, so we needed the island to serve as a dining table, island, buffet, desk, workstation — you name it! Since this kitchen is so visible, we wanted the finishes to be a little more upscale.

The Transformation

The kitchen was completely gutted! We designed new custom cabinets and installed all new plumbing, appliances, finishes, and lighting. 

We took great care to design the space to be much more efficient. We were able to add deeper and more functional storage inside the island to make up for some of the upper cabinets we took out. The space has more flow, feels larger, and is more integrated with the rest of the unit. We added marble shelves to store small kitchen knickknacks that can easily get lost in a cabinet. Not only does the island act as storage, but it can double as a surface that will satisfy my client’s desire to entertain.

Credit: Eric Roth Photography
Credit: Eric Roth Photography

The Details

For finishes, we chose marble for the perimeter surface and natural walnut wood for the island — so it felt more like a table or desk. For a sturdy surface, we used an engineered stone for the countertops. Since we didn’t need an entire slab, it was a more economical choice. 

We painted all the cabinets and the island base in Benjamin Moore’s Rocky Coast, a deep gray. Not only does this rich paint color make the kitchen feel warm and inviting, but it also brings an eye-catching touch of glam to the space that’s visible from the living room. 

For décor, we chose natural organic island stools for their warmth, texture, style, and comfort. While the unit is relatively classic, the stools are a take on the midcentury. This helped add some layers (and decades) to the space. 

We also sprinkled in some plants to naturally energize the space and provide some privacy from the living room. 

Credit: Eric Roth Photography
Credit: Eric Roth Photography

The Expert Advice

Want to recreate this transformation in your own space? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Think about only the essential tasks you perform and then be honest with yourself about what you truly use and need. The special juicer or the bread maker probably won’t make the cut and will monopolize essential space. 
  • Choose materials that function and hold up but also help support the feeling you are after. Choose your finishes in the same manner. 
  • Decide where to save and where to splurge. For resale, this client chose top of the line appliances but affordable cabinets so this isn’t his primary residence.
  • Kitchens don’t have to be tucked away. They can integrate into larger spaces and do that well if their finishes are consistent with the adjoining space.

Thanks, Liz!

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: This Colorful Boston Kitchen Revamp is Filled with Clever Storage Nooks