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This modest yet efficient kitchen offers an easy-going, oceanside aesthetic

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Effective design connections are as important in a small kitchen as in a larger one. Sightlines, color and form are just three ways to embrace the wider setting – this project employs them all.

Designer Elizabeth Swartz says the owners were looking for a small yet spacious kitchen for their Martha's Vineyard cottage.

"A big priority was to give the kitchen a feel of lightness and relaxation. The clients pictured this as their own private escape and wanted the region's beach sensibility to come through.

"The kitchen's modest volume was tricky to work with, having limited wall space due to a plethora of windows. So we looked to other areas for storage, and an adjacent mudroom was converted into a back pantry. Here, we added the large refrigerator in what would otherwise have been a dead corner, and several full-height cabinets for out-of-the-way storage."

Swartz says the kitchen footprint was also a bit difficult because it was square in shape, but not large enough for an island.

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"It's a walk-through space, which sees a lot of traffic, so we wanted to keep it open and easy to negotiate. To optimize the flow and strengthen links to the family room I chose a peninsula, rather than an island. The cherry-topped counter hides clutter from the living areas and offers a serving station for the dining area. Of course, the low counter allows views right across the light-filled spaces in both directions.

"We tucked a beverage cooler into the family room side of the peninsula – this is just beside the deck so a prime spot for extra cool drinks."

Cabinetry hues were inspired by the owners' Scandinavian heritage and its traditional color scheme of white and blue. The designer says this palette also picks up on the natural tones of the beachside location – ocean blues, grays and greens. The resulting cabinetry colors are Stone Blue and Eggshell.

Beadboard paneling on the front of the peninsula is in keeping with classic-look Cape Cod architecture and the traditional wood paneling on the cabinetry is also appropriate.

While simple cabinets and metal pulls sit well with typical Cape Cod and the Islands design, there are touches of modernity. The glass tile backsplash is in the original subway format, but in a smaller, more contemporary sizing. Blown-glass pendant lights work with the blue of the cabinets, but offer a modern sensibility.

First published date: 06 October 2013

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Credit List

Architect Sam Sherman, Sherman Associates (Vineyard Haven, MA)
Interior designer Elizabeth R Swartz ASID, Elizabeth Swartz Interiors (Boston, MA)
Cabinetry manufacturer Crown Point Cabinetry
Cabinetry finish Farrow & Ball Eco-friendly Estate Eggshell in Stone Blue
Hardware Crown Point Cabinetry
Countertops Costa Esmeralda granite from Bianco Tile & Marble; bar top, cherry from Doyle Construction
Flooring Cork tiles from Duro Design
Lighting Pendant lights, Aurora by LBL; track, by Juno; under cabinet Bright Disc Puck Light; Rainbow Diamond sconces by Bruck
Backsplash Akdo frosted blue glass
Kitchen sink Franke
Faucets Rohl
Oven, cooktop and dishwasher Thermador
Refrigerator and bar cooler Liebherr Story by Charles Moxham Photography courtesy of Crown Point Cabinetry