Web Exclusive  

Built To Last

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Jennifer McGee Design Inc.  |  Designer Jennifer McGee Design Inc.

A Ridgewood kitchen features timeless style and hardworking furnishings

“The owners wanted something very clean, fresh and minimal,” designer Jennifer McGee says of this Ridgewood, New Jersey, kitchen. The clients were also in search of a look that would last. “They wanted a strong, fresh, modern design aesthetic, but one that would stand the test of time.”

“The whole island is just gorgeous,” designer Jennifer McGee says of the white oak cabinetry. A tray ceiling over the island is papered in a subtle Holly Hunt wall covering. “I love that tray ceiling,” McGee adds.

In this case, “the test of time” refers not just to enduring style, but also to strength and sturdiness, a must for the homeowners, parents of two young children. “We focused on quality materials; practicality, durability and functionality drove the design,” says McGee, owner of Ridgewood-based Jennifer McGee Design.

The custom range hood features a white powder coating and satin brass trim to match the cabinet hardware.

The countertops, for example, are fabricated from hard-wearing quartz. “It’s indestructible and, with its soft veining, it has the luxe look of a beautiful marble.” The white oak island is treated with a wood stain. “Wood stain is so much more durable than a painted stain,” the designer adds.

“The countertop is crafted from beautiful quartz that looks like marble. It’s incredibly durable,” McGee says.

The wood tones — found on the island and the coffee station — offset the long stretches of white perimeter cabinetry. “The oak gives the space its warmth and sets the tone for the kitchen,” McGee says. That rich oak makes another appearance in a corner display cabinet. “For interest and texture, we added the white oak wood interiors in the cabinets with glass panels,” she explains.

McGee also used accessories to enhance interest in the room. “I like to use hardware as a distinguishing focal point of a kitchen,” she says. “It might be a cliché to say that hardware is like jewelry, but it really elevated the look of this space. It’s all custom and it’s beautiful.” It’s also practical. “The matte brass is a very functional finish; you don’t see fingerprints.”

A paneled refrigerator blends in with the perimeter cabinetry. The interior of the glass-paneled cupboard is white oak to coordinate with the island.

The centerpiece of the adjacent breakfast room is the Saarinen dining table from Knoll. It’s a chic look that also works for a young family. “It’s high design and always looks gorgeous,” McGee says, “but it’s a super functional surface. It’s something they’ll never have to worry about.”

The Saarinen dining table and Carl Hansen chairs offer a fuss-free Midcentury look. The corner cabinet — in the same wood stain as the island — conceals a coffee station/breakfast bar.”

A contemporary ceiling light complements the Midcentury sensibility of the table and chairs while adding panache with a cluster of glowing orbs. “Statement lighting is how we brought a modern feel to the space. It raises the level of the look and feel of the kitchen” she says. “The lighting evokes who the clients are — a young, vibrant family.”

Folding doors lead from the kitchen to the patio. “The clients really wanted an indoor/outdoor space,” McGee notes. “We installed eight outdoor heating lamps in the patio ceiling so that space can be used 10 months out of the year.”

McGee enjoyed creating a beautiful, workable kitchen for this busy young family. “It was really a wonderful job to work on, creatively,” she says. “There’s so much detail in the room, but at the same time, it’s very quiet and timeless. It’s a smart, functional, modern, light-filled space.”