From Musty to Must-See Kitchen
A beach cottage's rundown cook space becomes a year-round haven
Manage a renovation long distance? Sounds scary. But not if you are Rick and Chris Schwartz, of White Plains, New York. In one mad eight-week dash, they snapped up an unheated 19th-century beach cottage, found a general contractor through their Realtor, pored over pictures of period kitchens on the Internet, collaborated with a cabinetmaker on design and layout, and chose the tile, fixtures, and appliances.
Shown: The gut redo made way for a more open layout, updated plumbing and wiring, a first-time heating-and-cooling system, and period details throughout.
General contractor: Dave Knecht Homes, Hinsdale, IL; 630-537-1023
Carpentry: Village Carpentry & Builders, Westmont, IL; 630-241-7278
Floor refinishing and painting: D Painters, Vineyard Haven, MA; 508-560-2630
Dish towel and tea cups:
Glass cake stand:
Yellow dishware: Antique
Because the house is on Martha's Vineyard, off the Massachusetts coast, the couple knew they'd be doing a lot of shipping. Still, they were surprised to learn they could save time and money by transporting the GC and his crew—as well as cabinets and countertops—all the way from Chicago. The well-knit team had worked on other houses on the island and was willing to get the job done quickly. Working off-season with a few local subcontractors, they gutted and jacked up the sinking space and put in new everything, including appliances and light fixtures nabbed during sales. Says Rick: "Our goal was to blend new work seamlessly into our 1870s cottage. We not only succeeded but did it all by cell phone!"
Shown: The space needed more light and less knotty pine.
Cabinets are flush with the standard-depth fridge and built-in microwave for a seamless look.
The homeowners splurged on marble countertops while opting for standard subway tile. A herringbone-pattern inset framed with pencil tile adds a custom touch.
Tilework: , Westmont, IL
Downdraft range vent:
Chris and Rick Schwartz chose cabinets in an afternoon; finding the right color for them took four months.
Paint (cabinets): 's Stratton Blue
Cabinetmaker Steve Janik aligned the horizontal muntins with the shelves to neaten the look of glass-front units.
Knobs and pulls:
A 2-inch-thick slab of walnut butcher block tops a custom worktable with turned legs and a drawer for utensils. The floor is a blend of new and original pine boards.
Custom cabinets and worktable:
The 142-square-foot space was disjointed and dysfunctional.
Homeowner tip: "We saved almost $8,000 by negotiating deals on appliances and light fixtures during the winter sales, then put off delivery for six months."
—Chris Schwartz, White Plains, N.Y.
Stairs, a closet, a pantry, and a powder room came out, allowing the fridge wall and a peninsula with seating to go in.
1. Changed the door swing; an open door no longer blocks the counter.
2. Removed the powder room to open up the kitchen and added a peninsula for prep space and a snack bar.
3. Demolished a staircase, a closet, and a pantry, and built a wall to hold the fridge, microwave, and extra cabinets.
4. Cut two pass-throughs to channel light and conversation to and from the living room.
5. Flanked the range with prep space and added a wine fridge and a custom worktable.