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BEDFORD RESIDENCE | contextual modern

  • PROJECT:  Kitchen and entry renovation in Lexington, MA
  • ARCHITECT: Kristen Giannattasio; Atelier et Alia
  • CONTRACTOR: Austin Roberts Construction
  • CABINET FABRICATOR: Russo’s Kitchens
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Sabrina Cole Quinn Photography

“Contextual Modern” is a design philosophy that pays homage to a home’s historical and physical context while seamlessly integrating modern design elements to cater to contemporary lifestyles.  It is contemporary design that is inspired by the details and history of a home or project site.  This approach harmonizes clean, modern aesthetics with the traditional architectural styles prevalent in New England, a region that boasts some of the oldest housing stock in the country.

The existing layout was a product of a very different time, and prior renovations had failed to address notable functional limitations.  Mainly, the layout was cumbersome with the sink and dishwasher in a separate room from the range and refrigerator. The primary objectives of the project were to forge an open and streamlined layout, enhance the efficiency of the kitchen workspace, and introduce a vital first-floor bathroom, all within the existing footprint.   

The timeless subway tiles are contrasted with the skinny wood trim, flush detailing, thin porcelain countertop, and minimalist hardware.  Together, these elements collectively shift the stylistic balance several notches towards the contemporary edge.  Each detail was carefully examined to strike a harmonious balance between different styles, seamlessly fuse the past with the present, mirror the homeowner’s style aspirations, and achieve a refined, uncluttered aesthetic that suits this 100+ year old home.

In the kitchen, an efficient u-shaped work area was established, positioning the refrigerator to the left of the range, the sink to the right, and ample countertop space between each prominent appliance for meal preparation.  

Like many homes in the area, the back entrance serves as the primary point of entry for the homeowners, affording access to a detached garage situated behind the house.  In the entryway, a solid wood bench top equipped with storage drawers underneath offers a convenient area to place items like groceries and packages, while the drawers prove invaluable for keeping items such as extra outerwear orderly and out of view.

Replacing a solid door, the new solid oak entry door features a 2/3 glass lite and infuses the space with natural light, contributing to the illusion of a more spacious environment.  Vertical wood ship lap clads the entrance walls, providing a resilient surface for this frequently traversed area.  The window and door trim aligns flush with the ship lap, resulting in a sleek, modern detail.  A natural wood bead board ceiling was installed, recalling the existing one in the first-floor office space, and simple black metal hardware pulls it all together.

A new powder room was introduces to the entry space, conveniently concealed behind a space-saving pocket door. The design elements from the entry space extend seamlessly into the powder room, including the wood ceiling, the vertical wood ship lap wallboard, and a wood countertop that mirrors the bench top. Contrasting the entryway, the walls in the powder room are painted in a deep shade of grey, creating a captivating interplay of contrasts between the two spaces.  The powder room exudes a wonderfully moody ambiance with its dark grey hue, complemented by accents of black metal hardware and white porcelain fixtures.  A custom wood countertop is artfully shaped to mirror the curve of the vessel sink, and its design is thoughtfully shaped to accommodate the pocket door.  Ensuring compliance with code-required clearances, the layout maximizes the available space’s efficiency in order to not compromise the functions of the entryway.

The doorway to the basement stair was extended to provide an upper landing while concealing the angled wedge at the ceiling (the underside of the stair to the second level).  This alteration created a nook for a towering pantry cabinet and open bookshelf.  The cabinet was fitted with power receptacles to accommodate a microwave positioned on an upper shelf and small appliances at counter level so that they can be conveniently used in place without relocating them.

Do not hesitate to contact me to start your design project journey!