A Kitchen Re-Envisioned

Homeowner and designer Christie Adams chose red oak floors stained in “Puritan Pine” to match the existing wood floors in the rest of the house. The dining table and barstools are from West Elm.

Opposite: Open shelving and an abundance of windows didn’t allow for many upper cabinets, but Adams has plenty of storage in the large island and the mostly deep drawers she chose instead of lower cabinets. The refrigerator and dishwasher are hidden behind cabinet panels for a less-cluttered look. Above: Black metal pendant lights, faucet and cabinet pulls add contrast to the mostly white space.

When designer Christie Adams and her husband, Chris, first looked at their 1960s colonial in Wyckoff in 2012, they loved almost everything about it: the size, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the quiet street, the giant backyard— everything but the kitchen. “It was very small and cramped and separated from the rest of the house,” remembers Adams. “It had Formica countertops, red laminate flooring, brown cabinetry with white plastic knobs and only one small window. But I knew what it could become eventually.” 

Adams, who owns Christie Adams Design in Wyckoff, prides herself on seeing the potential in dated spaces. “This is our third fixer-upper, and I’ve loved renovating each of our homes,” she says. “Sometimes it’s hard for people to see what the end result could be, but I can see what it’s going to look like, and it’s exciting when it comes to life. It’s been fun for me to help other people with that process as well.”

For this kitchen renovation, which included a 600-square-foot addition, Adams’ vision was very specific: She preferred a wall of windows overlooking the backyard and therefore no upper cabinets on the back wall obstructing her view. She also wanted inset cabinets instead of overlay. “I wanted a classic, traditional look that would never go out of style, and I like that they look like a piece of furniture,” she explains. Adams also wanted wood on the base of the range hood. “I love the warmth of wood and sought to incorporate it into this very white kitchen in an interesting way,” she explains. “I had my cabinet maker stain it to match the wood from our kitchen table.” People tried to talk her out of it, but Adams chose to use Carrara marble for the perimeter countertops and island. “I love the look and feel of real marble,” she says. “I looked at engineered stone options and just didn’t find anything that compared.” Adams went to seven different stone yards to find just the right batch of marble slabs in a slightly gray tone. The base of the 10-footby-4-foot island is painted a light gray, as are the kitchen walls, to add interest to the predominantly white space, which gets a hint of sparkle from the iridescent, hand-cut subway tiles imported from Spain that line one wall. Open shelving and barstools in wood add a rustic touch.

One of Adams’ favorite details is the black metal pendant lights from Currey and Company that hang above the island. “They have antiqued mirror interiors, and I love that they are different,” says Adams. “I bought them even before I began the renovation.” She also found the wrought iron and aged seeded glass chandelier over the kitchen table from Currey. “The larger size works well with the raised 9-foot ceiling we were able to place above the dining area,” she explains. A black faucet, black matte cabinet pulls and black wrought iron brackets on the open shelving add contrast and tie everything together. 

In the end, the kitchen turned out exactly as Adams envisioned—and she got just what she wanted. “We have much more space now, and we love that it’s now open to the family room,” she says. “What I love most is that I have a space that feels like me. It makes me happy every time I walk in the door.” 

Categories: Bergen Health & Life