Current Kitchens

Like its residents, New Jersey’s kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. We scoured the state and found these noteworthy examples of current styles.

Traditional in Short Hills

Accommodating a large family—the couple has six children—may have been the purpose of renovating this Short Hills kitchen, but remaining true to the traditional style of the home was the goal. “This space needs to function for a large family. Everyone eats at the table together,” says designer Janet Simon, who tackled the project a few years back. The large center island became the focal point—as a gathering space as well as a food-prep area—and everything else “just fell into place around it,” Simon says.

This is a kitchen that works hard, she adds, with top-of-the-line appliances, two sinks and two dishwashers, and counters of polished marble and highly sealed mahogany butcher block (both of which clean up easily). What makes the design traditional? The white cabinets are classic, both in color and styling. “Flat recessed panels, carved columns and baseboards, even the hardware style is traditional,” says Simon. Random-width oak flooring, crown moldings, and a coffered ceiling “are all classically traditional,” she adds. Stainless steel elements may appear current but “steel is actually as old as anything. It’s a very basic material that’s been around forever,” says Simon.


Contemporary in South Amboy

This kitchen’s design could potentially be upstaged by its sweeping oceanfront views. But anchored by bold red-lacquer cabinets—the homeowners are from India, where red connotes luck, purity, and prosperity—this room is stylish enough to hold its own. The couple, who purchased the South Amboy home mid-construction and were able to select their own finish materials, asked kitchen designer Lorena Polon of Snaidero USA to incorporate the company’s passion-red metallic cabinets into the kitchen. Designed and made in Italy, “the cabinets are very sleek and contemporary,” says Polon.

For contrast, she added a wall of dark oak cabinets, finished in a matte lacquer.  There’s no hardware on the cabinets, nor are there upper-wall units, Polon points out, which adds to the modern look. “Everything in this space is linear, very clean,” she says. The range hood is virtually the only non-linear element. “It was designed to emphasize the curves of the ocean,” Polon says. Carrara marble tops the island, “an old-world material” says Polon, which contrasts with the stainless appliances. The distinctive backsplash is made of natural thatch between layers of resin. “My goal was to keep the space contemporary and have a very open feel,” Polon says. “It’s a beautiful space, but it doesn’t take away from the beauty of what’s going on outside.”


Eclectic in Montclair

The owners of this Tudor-style home in Montclair wanted something a little more hip, more current, so they turned to interior designer Jessy Krol to update the look. “They wanted modern with traditional—a true mix of old and new,” says Krol. While she tackled the “artistic” part of the project, she says, kitchen designer Angela Shannon came onboard “to make it all work.” Together, they selected a combination of sleek, contemporary materials: polished lacquer Poggenpohl cabinets, matte cocoa brown walls, Cohiba granite countertops, glossy wood floors, a shimmering glass-tile backsplash, professional-grade appliances, and a custom stainless steel range hood, which is “traditional-styling in an industrial material; a mix of two very different worlds,” Shannon says.

The focal point of the space is a unique U-shaped cockpit—“you can entertain people on three sides,” says Krol. It is surrounded by classic touches: elaborate moldings and columns, jeweled chandeliers, and tufted-leather bar stools. “This is a high-functioning modern kitchen,” says Krol. “A traditional space filled with sleek materials.” Adds Shannon, “By keeping it so sleek, the modern elements almost take backstage. The traditional side shines.”


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