Con­trast­ing col­ors and well-ap­pointed ameni­ties abound in this his­toric Mas­sachusetts kitchen.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Contents - BY SHELBY DEERING

Dis­cover how French bistro col­ors, cot­tage el­e­ments and con­tem­po­rary ameni­ties com­bine for a strik­ing look in this his­toric kitchen.

Boast­ing con­fi­dent hues and grand pro­por­tions, this Mas­sachusetts kitchen is as stately as the house’s his­tory. But it wasn’t al­ways this way. The home, once ven­er­ated for its his­toric im­por­tance, had fallen into dis­re­pair. Just 20 min­utes from down­town Bos­ton, the house had be­come a fix­ture in the town of New­ton, and it was time to bring it back to its for­mer glory. Help ar­rived in the form of two lo­cal non­prof­its: the New­ton Cul­tural Al­liance and The Ju­nior League of Bos­ton. The or­ga­ni­za­tions de­cided to re­fresh the home and trans­form it into a show house as a fundraiser, and one day it would serve as a com­mu­nity cul­tural cen­ter. Vani Say­eed, founder and prin­ci­pal de­signer at Vani Say­eed Stu­dios, was called on to com­pletely ren­o­vate the kitchen, which re­sulted in a richly hued cot­tage-style kitchen brim­ming with thought­ful fea­tures.


The Nathaniel To­pliff Allen Homestead, as it’s called, is a Greek Re­vival home orig­i­nally built in 1848; it was owned by a for­ward-think­ing ed­u­ca­tor who had a school on the premises. Vani ex­plains that the de­sign­ers were given ac­cess to the home for about 12 weeks. “We worked around the clock to make this hap­pen,” she says.

Work­ing along­side FBN Con­struc­tion, Vani wanted to cre­ate a func­tion­ing kitchen that could be used by the New­ton Cul­tural Al­liance, so the floor be­tween the home’s two lev­els was re­moved, re­sult­ing in an

18-foot ceil­ing and up­per win­dows. “The over­all foot­print of the kitchen is not very big, but be­cause of the high ceil­ings, the space feels very spa­cious and airy,” she says.

Cur­rent-day touches were added through­out the kitchen, in­clud­ing a Wolf in­duc­tion cook­top, a quartzite coun­ter­top and a chic her­ring­bone back­splash.


The kitchen show­cases sev­eral cot­tage el­e­ments—the wood ceil­ing, Shaker-style cab­i­netry, clas­sic fin­ishes—that beau­ti­fully mix with Vani’s top in­spi­ra­tion: bring­ing Paris to New­ton.

She says, “My de­sire was to con­vey the warmth, beauty, com­fort, charm and joie de vivre so many of us de­sire in our kitchens. The vi­sion for this kitchen is in­flu­enced by French bistro de­sign, a com­bi­na­tion of high style and el­e­gance, with a re­freshed and re­laxed at­ti­tude suit­able for to­day’s fam­ily.”

To achieve this look, Vani swathed the kitchen in what she calls “clas­sic bistro col­ors.” The gray, painted cab­i­nets, which she says have the ten­dency to look green or blue in cer­tain lights, bring a “con­tem­po­rary edge to the tra­di­tional French style,”Vani says. For even more of an eclec­tic look, Vani hung a sleek, sculp­tural light fix­ture that “em­pha­sizes the drama pro­vided by the dou­ble-height walls,” she says.

Both dar­ing and invit­ing, the kitchen em­braces a va­ri­ety of trends and time pe­ri­ods. “This kitchen is de­signed for to­day’s use but fits per­fectly in sev­eral dif­fer­ent styles and gen­res. With its bold use of color, tex­tures and pat­terns, this kitchen can work eas­ily in any set­ting—a cot­tage, a grand old home like the Nathaniel Allen House or a chic French pied-á-terre.”

|OP­PO­SITE| WASH & DRY. A quiet cor­ner houses the sink, where the red vinyl wall and Cote d’Azur mar­ble coun­ter­top take cen­ter stage.

|LEFT BOT­TOM| HAPPY HOUR. A neigh­bor­ing wet bar fea­tures a coun­ter­top ren­dered in Black Fan­tasy Sil­ver, a type of nat­u­ral quartzite. “We did a spe­cial fin­ish by treat­ing it,” Vani says. “It was leathered and brushed to cre­ate a soft, an­tique feel.” It’s the fin­ish­ing touch on top of the cherry cab­i­nets.

|LEFT| TOP TO BOT­TOM. The soar­ing 18-foot ceil­ing spot­lights ex­posed wood orig­i­nal to the home. “In­stead of cov­er­ing it, I de­cided to clean it and let it be a unique piece of his­tory for all to en­joy,” Vani says. Her orig­i­nal art­work graces the space, a se­lec­tion of mixed me­dia paint­ings and In­taglio prints.

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