From the August/September 2023 Issue  

Personality Plus

Writer Ren Miller  |  Photographer Mike Van Tassell  |  Interior Designer Swati Goorha  |  Kitchen Designer Donna Farley  |  Location Chatham, NJ

A dated kitchen and awkward family room are redesigned with spirit and style

What began as an effort to refresh a dated Chatham, New Jersey, kitchen turned into a redesign that not only modernized the kitchen and adjacent family room but also infused both spaces with function and character.

One of the distinguishing features is the blue ombré backsplash on the range wall.

In the kitchen, the homeowners engaged JMC Home Remodeling in Parsippany to redesign the space to be more open and user-friendly. Donna Farley, kitchen and bath designer with JMC, relocated the appliances for better flow and raised the window so there was enough space to move the sink under it so the homeowners can enjoy the view while working. She also replaced all of the cabinetry and hardware and designed a larger island for the approximately 15-by-17-foot space.

The new island provides a convenient spot for the empty-nester homeowners to share an informal meal and also for their adult children or friends to hang out when they visit.

Because the homeowners wanted a more open feel in the kitchen and family room, Farley removed a cased opening between them. That also allowed space for a serving and storage cabinet that echoes the style and colors of the other kitchen cabinetry, except it has glass-front upper doors and a walnut countertop. She designed the unit to turn the corner into the family room with a slim but efficient coffee station and beverage refrigerator. “The coffee station includes a water spout so the owners can use that space without having to run to the kitchen sink,” Farley notes.

When Swati Goorha of Swati Goorha Designs in New Providence joined the project, she chose an eye-catching backsplash featuring a fan-patterned blue ombré glass tile with brass trim for the kitchen. The backsplash appears behind the range and the serving and storage cabinet. Goorha also introduced limewash paint on the walls to add depth and texture.


A distinguishing feature is a blue ombré backsplash behind a new cabinet that bridges the kitchen and family room.

The family room used to feel disconnected from the kitchen. Not only had there been a cased opening between the spaces, but also a sofa positioned to face a large television had its back to the kitchen. The sofa and chairs were covered in muted solid colors that made the space look a little flat. A wood stove got lost in the corner by itself.

A colorful new sectional sofa hugs the wall that formerly held a big television. It replaces a smaller sofa that used to face the wall with its back to the kitchen, effectively separating the two areas.

“We had to come up with a creative solution for space planning to add more seating, make the layout open so the kitchen and family room flow from one space to the other, and add a television in such a way that it can be seen from the kitchen and the family room,” Goorha says. She started by closing up a little-used door to the dining room on one wall and relocated the television there. The television is on an articulating arm so it can be positioned for easier viewing from any angle. “It is easily accessible when in use but also out of sight when not,” Goorha notes. She designed a narrow, wall-mounted console for under the television to house electronic components.

To allow for more seating and add more pattern and color, Goorha chose a sectional sofa that wraps the wall that formerly held the television and a perpendicular wall with a large window. She added swivel chairs in a fun print and with low backs so they don’t obstruct the television. A large blue and chocolate leather ottoman with nailhead trim provides a convenient spot to rest feet or stow the latest best-selling novels.

The designer closed up a little-used secondary door to the dining room so she could move the television to this wall. It’s on an articulating arm that allows the homeowners to position it for viewing from the family room or the kitchen. She designed the wall-mounted console to hold electronic components.

The colors of the upholstery and pillows complement those in the kitchen, while the art above the sofa further brightens the space with an interesting splash of color. As it does in the kitchen, a limewash treatment on the walls adds depth and texture. A sculptural pyramid side table at one end of the sectional sofa adds function without being bulky, while a table on the opposite end provides storage. A simple but stunning floor lamp adds light and height, while the rug ties the seating area together and is easy to clean and maintain.

With the project now complete, the owners enjoy entertaining as well as relaxing and watching television in the space.