From the February/March 2023 Issue  

Remembrance of Things Past

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Tori Sikkema  |  Designer Jackie Currie-Taylor, Allied ASID

A vacation abroad was the inspiration for a British designer in her New Jersey home

Flooring in the kitchen—and throughout the home—is engineered French oak. “Engineered wood flooring is a better choice in high-moisture environments,” designer and homeowner Jackie Currie-Taylor says. The beam edging the range hood is made from reclaimed wood salvaged from the original home on the property.

A trip to France was the inspiration for Jackie Currie-Taylor’s new kitchen. Currie-Taylor, an allied member of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner and principal designer of Red Bank, New Jersey-based Gravitate To Interior Design, was inspired by a home her family had rented in Aix-en-Provence in 2018. “I loved the kitchen in that house,” she says. “It was a mixture of old and new — the French are experts in mixing classic and modern—and there was something about the function of the space that really spoke to me. That kitchen stayed with me, and when I came to designing this kitchen, I wanted to evoke the same feeling and look.”

The British-born designer admired the abundant storage options in the French home. “I loved opening the oak floor-to-ceiling cupboards with all the dinner­ware (everyday and entertaining pieces) easily accessible.” In addition, she appreciated the way those options were laid out. “I realized there were no awkward gaps and no unused corners. And the kitchen also had a walk-in pantry. What’s not to like about that?”

The paneled refrigerator/freezer integrates into the floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. “The ceiling pendants over the island add a touch of whimsy and make me smile,” Currie-Taylor says.

The kitchen in her new home features not only a walk-in pantry, but also ample storage that includes floor-to-ceiling cupboards on one wall along with an integrated side-by-side refrigerator/freezer for a cohesive look. “The white oak cabinetry gives order to the kitchen with food, pots and pans, and small appliances behind closed doors.”

Custom black French pocket doors open to the butler’s pantry. The 100-year-old chair was salvaged from an English church where Currie-Taylor’s grandfather served as a verger.

The butler’s pantry is a useful prep kitchen when Currie-Taylor entertains. It includes a dual-temperature wine fridge, beverage drawer, ice maker and additional dishwasher for glassware. “The custom bar shelving is nearly as popular as the breakfast cupboard,” Currie-Taylor says. The ceiling pendant is a smaller version of the kitchen island pendants, and the wall covering is the same as in the kitchen. “One of my favorite elements is the large round window that frames the water views. You can stand at the bar sink watching osprey, egrets and the ever-changing waterscape.”

On the opposite wall, next to the range, Currie-Taylor installed additional cabinetry that she refers to as “the breakfast cupboard.” It holds coffee and tea and the associated hot-beverage-making appliances. “It’s truly the heart of the kitchen. It’s where every day begins.” The cabinet is strategically located directly across from the island sink. “Being British, we survive on copious amounts of tea,” the designer says. “So an instant hot tap was a necessity.”

Currie-Taylor paired state-of-the art appliances, such as the hot faucet and the handmade ILVE Majestic II range, with more rustic components. “The range, flanked by the two black windows, became the focal point of the kitchen. It was the perfect place to incorporate one of the oak beams we salvaged from the original 1908 cottage that was on this property.”

The blend of classic and contemporary continues with furnishings chosen to represent old and new, Currie-Taylor explains. “We incorporated modern leather counter stools as well as a 100-year-old antique altar chair salvaged over 25 years ago from the church in England where my great grandfather was a verger.” Much like that idyllic space in Aix-en-Provence, Currie-Taylor’s kitchen evokes the past while enriching the present. “We don’t just use the kitchen; we practically live in it!”