From the February/March 2020 Issue  

This Margate Kitchen is Stylish & Suited for Socializing

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Stuart Tyson  |  Designer Jim Dove, Rhonda Sacks  |  Location Margate, NJ

The large kitchen suits the way the owners live. “We like to cook together as a family,” homeowner Lenni Sue Perry says. “We can all create a meal together.”

A Margate kitchen is spacious, stylish and suited for socializing

At the Perry home in Margate, New Jersey, friends and family are always welcome. “My house runs like a bed and breakfast,” homeowner Lenni Sue Perry says. “We have people every weekend.” Until recently, though, the stately colonial-style home built in the 1930s featured a less-than-stellar kitchen. “It was dark and dated,” designer Jim Dove says about the space, which hadn’t been renovated since the 1980s. “It lacked personality, aesthetic and function. It was divided into a few awkward spaces with a support column at the center. Once we determined the column could be removed, it allowed us to do the family kitchen they envisioned,” says Dove, owner of Dove Design Studio in Short Hills, New Jersey.

The large cutting board was included at the homeowner’s request. “I do a lot of chopping,” Perry says. The 66-inch-wide custom stainless steel barrel hood by Amoré Design Factory is a focal point of the room.

That vision, Perry says, was a “cook’s kitchen. I wanted an open space where I could cook and people could socialize so I could be with everybody.” To assist with the design, Perry called in the services of her cousin, Rhonda Sacks of Rhonda Sacks Interiors in Wayne, Pennsylvania. As a frequent visitor to the house herself, Sacks understood Perry’s goal. “They basically wanted a central hub, a place for their guests to gather and feel at home on the weekends.”

Sacks helped create that hub by ensuring it was outfitted with all the amenities a host could want, including a large island with a 46-inch long sink, two dishwashers, recycling areas and storage. The 60-inch range has two full-sized ovens, six burners, a griddle and a grill.

The breakfast bar has two bifold doors, which are opened during serving hours. When the doors are closed, they conceal the small appliances but show off the everyday china.

Clearly, the kitchen is designed for a serious cook, but it’s also laid out to encourage self-service. Built-in cabinetry next to the refrigerator increases the functionality of the space, and takes a bit of pressure off Perry. The breakfast bar, as Sacks calls it, “is wonderful. It looks equally beautiful with the doors opened or closed.” When open, the cabinet reveals accoutrements for a relaxed breakfast, including a coffeemaker and toaster. Perry, who’s an early riser, sets up breakfast basics such as fruit and bagels. With silverware stored in the lower drawers and tableware stored above, everything for the first meal of the day is easily accessible to guests. “I wanted everyone to be able to use this kitchen and not have me tell them where to go. They can grab their own glasses and bowls and find things at their leisure.”

White cabinetry and stainless steel appliances create a streamlined look. “We wanted to uplift the kitchen,” designer Rhonda Sacks says of the renovation.

The design elements reflect Perry’s wish for “something that was classic and that would never go out of style.” Streamlined cabinetry accessorized by polished chrome hardware creates a sophisticated look. Glass pendants above the island maintain an airy feel, as do the quartz countertops, which were chosen for their very light veining. Dove adds, “I wanted to respect the architecture and the beachfront location; using white and glass cabinets keeps the whole area light and bright.”

Built-in cabinetry along another wall (opposite) provides more storage and a location for a bar.

Perry calls this project a “labor of love. The combination of Jim, Roni and me — it was really fabulous. The room is more than I ever imagined.” Sacks agrees. “This is their happy place. It’s the quintessential gathering place for family and friends. It’s inviting, warm, elegant and sophisticated all at the same time.”