Kevin Shannon convinced his wife, Courtney, that a non-descript modified colonial on an expansive lot in Mendham would one day be her dream house. “‘Trust me,’ he said,” recalls Courtney now, of the home she was reluctant to purchase back in 2010. “But he told me I could make it exactly how I wanted it.” It took eight years, but she finally has her dream: a showstopper of a kitchen, one that is both timeless and timely. It’s the hub of activity for this busy family of six and the space they retreat to every evening to reconnect. “Dinner time is sacred,” Courtney says. “Whether it’s at 4:30 or 8:30, we all sit down together.”
Working with a team of design experts, Courtney created a luxurious, open space that reflects many of today’s most popular kitchen-design trends. “Everything is perfect,” says Courtney.
MAKING A STATEMENT
Statement pieces can make all the difference, explains the Shannons’ kitchen designer, Joanne Murphy of Cabri Inc. in Summit. Take the massive light fixtures. Courtney knew she wanted lantern-style lighting and, against the wishes of her husband and the builder, ordered them extra large. “When they arrived, no one wanted to put them up,” she jokes. “I insisted. Now, they’re the one thing everyone comments on.” Other potential statement makers include farmhouse sinks, decorative backsplashes and cabinet hardware. “The right hardware can be like jewelry,” says Murphy.
AT YOUR CONVENIENCE
Homeowners want ease of use and functionality, says Murphy, whether it’s for daily family living or a full-blown party. Popular modern must-haves include multiple work areas with expansive prep space, two sinks, a beverage refrigerator—within easy reach for youngsters—and a separate bar area with generous storage space. The Shannons also have a separate ice machine, handy for entertaining. “We love to have all our kids’ friends over,” says Courtney. Plus, she adds, Kevin is one of 10 sibilings, and all but one lives close by. “We’re often entertaining a houseful.”
Smart appliances have been on the renovation radar for some time, but smart doesn’t just mean the latest technology. It means—well, smart. “I really do cook,” says Courtney. “I was very particular about the appliances.” For instance, she chose a French-door oven manufactured by Viking. “The oven doors were a huge selling point for me,” Courtney says. “I’m short, and I don’t want to be reaching over a hot oven door.” Another smart appliance: the six-burner range with knobs set on the side, not in front. “I didn’t want anyone bumping into them,” Courtney says. Murphy sees this trend regularly. “Homeowners want smart comfort features that are user-friendly,” she says. “They want dials and knobs, not electronics.”
Creating a seamless connection with the outdoors continues to be an important trend. Ample windows, providing natural light, achieve that goal. Designer Annie Williams, who, with her design partner, Cathy Killam, worked with the Shannons on their overall home renovation, notes that “the natural light from the many windows surrounding the space achieves the goal of bringing the outside in.” More importantly, adds Courtney, “this is where we sit every single night.”
There’s a wealth of trendy options when it comes to high-end countertop materials. According to the 2019 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, countertops are the number one feature to upgrade as a part of a kitchen renovation; a whopping 93 percent of renovating homeowners upgrade their countertops. Engineered quartz has become the most popular solid-surface countertop material, edging out granite and other natural stone, the report notes. Quartz is durable, resilient, and generally less costly than marble and slate, explains Murphy. Adding a textured finish to the surface makes it spot-on trendy; the Shannons’ center island countertop has a leathered finish that helps hide stains, scuffs and blemishes. “I just knew I wanted a massive island,” says Courtney. “It’s the focal point of the space. It’s where everyone gathers.”
Homeowners want clutter-free counters and smart storage solutions, according to a Houzz Kitchen Trends Study. In the Shannons’ kitchen, pull-out spice racks flank the range; utensil drawers are outfitted with dividers. Clutter-free can also translate to clean lines. For instance, Courtney selected appliances from several manufacturers, resulting in mismatched stainless coloring. The solution: paneling them to resemble built-in cabinetry. Another clean-line tweak: the microwave drawer is flush inset to look built in.
RESOURCES: Kitchen Designer: Joanne Murphy, Cabri Inc., Summit. 908-277-1161. Interior Designers: Annie Williams and Cathy Killam, Chestnut Ridge Interiors, Mendham. 925-337-5644. Builder: Ted Berzak, Vision Construction, Edison. 973-543-7102. Flowers and Plants: Petal Street Flower Co., Point Pleasant. 732-295-0600.Click here to leave a comment