BOLD & BEAUTIFUL
Contrasting colors and well-appointed amenities abound in this historic Massachusetts kitchen.
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.
A PARISIAN-INSPIRED KITCHEN
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.