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Serene Stunner

Writer Marirose Krall  |  Photographer Lisa Russman  |  Designer Tina Ramchandani  |  Location Morris County, NJ

A Morris County kitchen offers streamlined style and a warm welcome

The homeowners opted for one large island to replace two smaller perpendicular islands in the original kitchen. The expansive countertop allows room for meal prep and dining. “These clients are wonderful,” designer Tina Ramchandani says. “They have great taste and they make quick decisions. They are a joy to work with.”

The owners of this Morris County, New Jersey, home are avid cooks and wanted a new kitchen that would work for them and their growing family. “They’re passionate chefs who use their kitchen quite a bit,” says Tina Ramchandani of Tina Ramchandani Creative in New York City. The clients called in the designer, who’d worked with them on the other rooms in the house, to create a kitchen that would combine the wife’s fondness for casual farmhouse style with the husband’s more modern aesthetic.

The backsplash consists of white and light gray tiles set in a herringbone pattern.

The room is framed in a long swathe of pure white cabinets, which set a composed, unruffled mood in the space. Backsplash tiles in shades of white and gray provide a subtle contrast, their herringbone design offering a hint of pattern. “For the most part we kept everything simple,” Ramchandani says. “We went through a couple of iterations on the cabinetry and thought about adding some color. We explored two-tone cabinets, but in the end, we went for an all-white look.” The monochromatic style provides a contemporary edge that’s tempered by the inset cabinetry. “We decided not to do flat-panel doors early on. We wanted a little bit of interest and texture.”

While the previous space featured two perpendicular islands, the clients chose to have a single, large island in their new kitchen. Topped with wood-look concrete, the island draws the eye — a deep-toned accent against the reserved background. “We went through many, many finish samples to get to this deeper, darker shade,” Ramchandani notes.

The refrigerator is paneled to blend into the cabinetry. The cabinet hardware and the refrigerator handles were purchased together from the same vendor.

Backless stools both stand out against and coordinate with the island. Their dark tones create a striking profile alongside the white cabinetry, while the wood seats reiterate the tone of the counter and the black legs mimic the hardware and faucets. “Because of the island’s size and scale, we wanted to keep the stools simple and easy to access and tuck under the counter,” the designer says.

While the stools are easy to maneuver, the extra-large island top was not. Installation required a few logistical machinations. “It was very heavy and very, very big. It had to come in through the backyard,” Ramchandani explains. The island features a sink made from the same wood-look concrete as the rest of the countertop. “It’s integrated and matches the color,” she says. The effect is harmonious; the sink fits quietly into the counter without disrupting the aesthetic.

The sink is made from the same wood-look concrete as the rest of the island countertop. The two grates slide over the sink and can be used for chopping or draining.

The entire kitchen, in fact, is soothingly styled. The large refrigerator is paneled to blend in with the surrounding cabinetry and is outfitted with handles that correspond to the cabinet hardware. The wet bar in the dining area, which repeats the white cabinetry found in the main space, features two black beverage refrigerators that reflect and accentuate the other black accents in the room.

Likewise, the light fixture above the dining table — a white cylinder trimmed in black — furthers the black-and-white look. That fixture, along with the dining table and chairs, was purchased prior to the kitchen renovation. “Although the clients’ taste has evolved and grown with the home, their style has stayed true,” Ramchandani says. The result is a space that’s streamlined and unfussy, yet warm and welcoming, reflecting both the husband and the wife’s decorative preferences.

The homeowners entertain quite a bit. “The two dual-temperature undercounter wine refrigerators allow them to offer the right drinks to guests at the right temperature.” The dining table and chairs as well as the light fixture in the wet bar area were purchased prior to the renovation and used in the original kitchen.