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Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Jennifer Lavelle Photography  |  Designer Jenna Reading and Amanda Downs  |  Location Longport, NJ

Several styles merge in a Longport kitchen

White cabinetry accessorized with the subtle shimmer of metals creates a soothing yet stylish aesthetic against driftwood-hued accents.

When Nick and Nicole Siciliano built their vacation home in Longport, they hired Jenna Reading and Amanda Downs to design the interiors. Things were moving along seamlessly during the winter of 2020. “It was kind of fast and furious,” Reading says. “It was fun for us.” Of course, in March of that year, the world shut down. While supply-chain issues stalled work on many of the spaces, Reading and Downs, partners in Allentown-based South Main Design, were able to continue working on the kitchen. Fortuitously, they’d ordered appliances and most of the furnishings for that space before delivery problems cropped up.

The wall behind the range features a pot-filler faucet for ease and convenience.

Discussions with the homeowners revealed they wanted to combine various styles in their kitchen. Ideally, the space would have a touch of coastal flair, a dash of rustic charm and a bit of glamour without an overarching emphasis on any single aesthetic. All this had to be accomplished within the context of a family-friendly environment. “The clients spend a lot of time there in the summer,” Reading notes. “They wanted this house to be not just for themselves, but for guests.” With that in mind, the designers specified performance fabrics for all the seating. “We didn’t want them cringing when a guest sat down to eat or came in from the beach,” Reading adds. Durability also came into play when selecting the countertops, which would get heavy use from adults and children. The final choice — Calacatta Laza quartz — provides the classic look of marble in a less porous form.

Classic, yet refined, touches set a beachy mood, though there are few literal references to seashore style; there are no starfish-, coral- or anchor-themed accents to be found. “We sourced typical coastal ropes and woods sparingly,” Reading says. Still, the room’s wood elements — flooring, dining table and chairs, stools at the island — do have a decidedly “driftwood-esque” tone. “The bead-board ceiling brings a coastal feel as well,” Reading adds.

The lighting also offers an understated allusion to coastal décor. “The first things we chose were the pendants above the island,” Reading says. “We loved them. The big globe with the metal wrapped around it is a little bit of a nautical nod, but it’s modern as well.” Reading feels that the two fixtures are a focal point of the space. “We love a white kitchen, but with a white kitchen you need something to bring interest, something that pops. For us, it was those pendants.”

The chandelier above the dining table is also eye-catching. “That fixture is oversized,” Reading says. “You see it when you walk in the front door.” Featuring jute rope and crystal beads, the piece combines coastal cool and sparkly glamour effortlessly. Brushed satin cabinet hardware adds subtle shimmer, as does the Roman shade above the sink. “The woven circles have a very pretty tone-on-tone, slight metallic quality that adds a little bit of shimmer and texture to the white shade.”

The light fixture above the dining table features jute rope with descending crystals.


The transition from bead-board to coffered ceiling distinguishes the border between the kitchen/dining area and the living area.

Texture appears in an unexpected place on the farm sink, which features a horizontal-striped bevel. Reading says, “The Sicilianos liked the farmhouse style but wanted something unique.” That detail is a sophisticated touch on a conventionally rustic fixture.

The beveled edge of the farm sink adds textural interest while blending in with the white cabinetry. The peek-a-boo windowed cabinets at the top are used to display less-used monochromatic serveware.

There was certainly nothing conventional about the progression of this project, interrupted as it was by the circumstances. “We like to let clients touch and feel everything,” Reading says of her design process. Still, the designers powered through and, like many of us, became pros at using Zoom. “It was a challenge,” Reading adds, “but when you have clients who trust you, that’s everything. The challenge becomes workable and enjoyable.”

The wet bar is situated directly across from the dining table. “It draws the dining table into the kitchen space and makes it feel like one,” Reading says.