This Kitchen Nods To English Tradition With A Modern Swerve


black kitchen with wood floor

A Wolf range and a leathered granite backsplash and countertop from Metropolitan Stone are the ultimate cook’s companions.

An image of a classic English kitchen torn from a magazine provided an exciting challenge for Massachusetts-based designer Kristen Rivoli, who in her own words, “typically designs more modern and transitional spaces.” The fact that her client was a serious chef with contemporary-leaning tastes made the brief an even more interesting puzzle to solve.

To bring together both aesthetics, Rivoli looked first to the millwork, teaming up with Kevin Cradock Builders on a cabinetry program that nods to Old World furniture with its inset style and hand-painted finish, while touting modern flourishes like curved panel lines and glass upper cubbies. A standout feature is Rivoli’s custom-designed hutch, whose drawers enclose a drop-down device charging station, catchalls for the husbands’ sundries and everyday cutlery and dishware for meals at the adjacent breakfast nook. “We did a lot of research on early English kitchens and one constant was that there was always a standalone hutch,” notes Rivoli.

black kitchen cabinets with marble counter and brass tap

Brass-toned details, including a Waterworks tap, Top Knobs hardware and an antique painting, lend traditional flair to this Massachusetts kitchen designed by Kristen Rivoli.

kitchen island and built-in hutch

The family room-facing end of the kitchen island encloses pull-out Sub-Zero beverage refrigerators; an Urban Electric fixture hangs above.

breakfast nook with purple chairs

The breakfast nook beckons with its Saarinen table and chairs illuminated by an Apparatus pendant.

Ultimately, crafting a modern chefs kitchen in the tradition of an English country home allowed for the best of everything. “My client’s initial inspiration brought about so many great details– the exposed hinges, the big, farmhouse-style sink, and all of the warm brass hardware,” notes the designer. “But the functionality of the space, the lighting, the sexy furniture, it’s all very modern.” Unified by a timeless material envelope of ebonized mahogany and leathered granite, the space is equal parts style and function. “Walking into this kitchen is like putting on a beautiful gown,” reflects Rivoli. “It instantly changes how you feel.”