Born Again Kitchen


Interior Design by Meredith McBride Kipp & Ryerson Kipp
Photography by Laura Moss
Shoot Styling by Karin Olsen

When we bought our dream home—a simple and classic farmhouse (built in 1805) in Franklin Lakes, NJ—the 50’s stained-knotty-pine kitchen was not part of that dream. Despite this fact, my husband thought we should abstain from a kitchen remodel for a few months…or a year even. I should mention now that I’m a renovation zealot? We owned the home for less than 24 hours when I demo’d one of the walls to open the floor plan up to the family room. Surprising as it may seem, we started work on the kitchen immediately.

With help from a wonderful builder (Mark Ferrero of Oakland, NJ. phone: 201.926.3967) and advice from the best local architect (my mother, Pam Watt McBride, phone: 201.805.3825) we realized our dream kitchen. Pam gave us the brilliant idea to use 4′ for an adjacent room to expand the kitchen to make space for the refrigerator and a deluxe little food pantry with french doors. By pushing the refrigerator back into the wall and adding a pantry, we were able to eliminate the need for upper cabinets—making the space feel much larger—and gave us room for a long, narrow island.

We wanted a classic kitchen—like one you might find in a formal townhouse from the 1800’s—but with a modern and industrial bent. Our farmhouse would have originally had a dirt floor kitchen with a huge hearth—still partly visible in what we are turning into a library. I’d always wanted a black kitchen, but since this room gets very little sun we went half & half.  For serious historical (yet moderne) oomph, we did an entire wall in a 6″X12″ Carrera marble tile and used modern stainless hardware and a chrome sink fixture to tie in our large industrial hood, range and ovens. We paneled over the existing brick wall to give it a more polished look and further drive out the 50’s juju.

We used a large antique banyan wood and glass case—originally from an apothecary in India, instead of more cabinetry—to give it a more eclectic, unique, and lived-in look. This element also tied in the butcher block island countertop nicely and gave a little more warmth and charm to the otherwise austere kitchen design.

I can’t imagine life without this kitchen; now the heart of our lively home. AND, a great national print magazine—to remain unnamed for now—is coming to shoot it for their publication later this month, so we did something right!

See my RESOURCES below for your kitchen renovations & CHEERS!

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Builder: Mark Ferrero of Oakland, NJ. phone: 201.926.3967
White Counters
Caesarstone, installed by Atlas Marble & Granite (in pantry as well)
Wood Counter (island): Karlby 98″ X 26″ from IKEA. Needs to be oiled regularly with mineral oil $140
Cabinets: Black ones are “Laxabry” from IKEA with a 25-year warranty. White ones under the island are from Green Demolitions, a fabulous salvage place definitely worth checking out.
Sink: 30-inch Undermount Stainless Steel 16 Gauge Single Bowl by VIGO
Faucetdanze Parma Single Handle Pre-Rinse Kitchen Faucet in chrome
Backsplash: 6″x12″ polished Millas Carrera tiles from Metropolitan Tile & Stone in Hawthorne, NJ
Open Shelves: totally custom
Light fixtures: three “Academy” semi-flushmounts from Home Depot customized to make them pendants $135/ea on dimmers
China Cupboard: antique banyan wood piece from India, bought at ABC Carpet & Home customized on the inside with shelves
Pantry Doors: 18″ tempered glass french doors from Kuiken Brothers
Range Stove and Double-Oven: both from JENN-AIR
Range Hood: by BEST and the chimney is custom fabricated and custom finished by Broadhurst Sheet Metal Works
Wine Cooler
(in island): Avanti Dual Zone for whites and reds with temperature control
Floors: Stained black bamboo flooring “Black Mamba” from Lumber Liquidators in Hackensack, NJ
Windows are original
Shingle-style architect: Pam Watt McBride, phone: 201.805.3825

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Backyard Decor Solution

Spring Cleaning can be both cathartic and frustrating. As you spend these next few weekends planning for your outdoor life, don’t get worked up about how you’re going to make your backyard look just right.  If you’ve considered refreshing your exterior decor, you’ve likely realized you’ll spend well into the thousands to do so. But don’t panic, I’ve got a solution for you. In an effort to find the right pieces for my own patio, I have searched high and low to find the right products for reasonable prices. Here’s my selection of eclectic & bohemian, yet classic backyard decor. Clickable links to each product below. Happy Spring!

Meredith McBride Kipp Backyard Decor Savvy Selects

1. Scalamandre Melamine Salad Plates
Set of four $24.50, FRONTGATE

2. Pagoda Umbrella in Maui
$199.95, Pier 1 imports

3. citronella grey candle
$19.95, CB2

4. Capella Island Deluxe Armchair
$379.95, Pier 1 imports

$59.50, Pottery Barn

6. chunky white block planter
$39.95, CB2

7. Classic Beach Fold Chair
$229.00, Navy/Sand, Ballard Designs

$49.50, Pottery Barn

9. Ceylon Whitewash Chaise
$549, Ballard Designs

10. Quinn Garden Stool
$119.95, Pier 1 imports

11. Farmhouse Hammock Cushion
$399, Canopy Stripe Taupe/Sand Sunbrella, Ballard Designs

12. dockside II dining table
$449.00, CB2

You had me at Butler’s Pantry…

Photography by Laura Moss
Styling by Meredith McBride Kipp 

When touring old homes (and new), a butler’s pantry is always the highlight for me. It was one of the selling features when my husband and I bought our 1805 farmhouse. Despite the charm of the home, the butler’s pantry lacked the proper character and polish. We believe it was added in the 1950’s, and was in need of a major facelift. First off, the upper cabinets needed to be moved up nearly a foot in order to actually accommodate the height of a bottle.

My husband tackled this project with full steam last year while I worked on our soon-to-arrive baby’s nursery upstairs (I will post that decor story soon). Our thought was that ‘if we’re going to have a child, we’re probably going to need a proper place to mix a cocktail.’ (SEE OLD FASHIONED RECIPE BELOW) So we bumped the project to the top of the list. With that he tackled the powder room and the back stairwell. SEE BEFORES AND AFTERS BELOW

Steps for transforming the BUTLER’S PANTRY:
Removed the overhead soffit and upper cabinets
Rebuilt the upper cabinets using only the existing doors (which we think are original from the home’s first kitchen)
Trimmed out the lower cabinet doors
Painted the whole room a delicious prohibition-era-inspired dark teal
Replaced the painted wood counter with black granite
Tiled the backsplash with 6″x12″ (subway style) hand-cut mirror tiles
Installed art spotlights, under-cabinet lighting, interior-cabinet lighting, and electrical outlets
Hung a beautiful oversized, overhead, brass light fixture
Hung lion-head door knockers for a bit of (Bowie’s) Labyrinth whimsy
Installed sleek brass hardware

Steps for transforming the POWDER ROOM:
Removed toilet, sink and tile floor
Removed wallpaper and light fixture
Installed paneling on walls and repaired, primed and painted walls and trim
wallpapered above paneling
installed Julisk light
installed new miniature sink with custom-designed marble backsplash and counter
Steps for transforming the BACK STAIRWELL:
Stripped the carpet & wallpaper
Caulked and repaired walls, trim and floors
Primed and painted walls, ceiling and stairs
Cut and stapled floor runners to create continuous look
Framed and hung important historical family photos


Brass light fixture
Custom teal paint color: click to see image of scannable barcode for home depot BEHR color
Lion head door knockers are antique, but here are some similar ones 

Juliska light fixture
Miniature porcelain sink
Marble sink surround and backsplash custom designed by Meredith, cut by Atlas Stone
Marble sink surround and backsplash installed with love by Sebastian Martorana
Rose vase by his talented wife, Amanda Martorana

Chevron stair runners



Wardrobe Function

Hot off the Oscars, everyone’s talking about ‘what they wore’, but I’m more interested in where they hang it all when they get home. What does that space look like?

Everyone’s got their daily routines and ideally, their zone. My husband, Ryerson, and I just brought ours to life. We sold our fab little 20’s colonial tudor this fall and bought a bigger/older project: an 1805 farmhouse in Franklin Lakes, NJ (yes, BRAVO Housewives territory).

Moving whilst crazed at our jobs was traumatic at best, so we focused our weekend-warrior energies on getting our private quarters finished first. ‘Oasis of organization & comfort’ has been our mantra. As usual, we took the job very seriously and built ourselves some totally over-the top closets. Ry turned the existing walk-in into his own personal haberdashery (sans valet) and I took the liberty of transforming our off-bedroom office into a gallery of glam. I’m a jeans, boots and blazer gal by nature but this wardrobe-chapel is making me see things in a whole new light.

Interior Design & Styling by moi, Meredith McBride Kipp
Photography by Laura Moss
Closet construction by Ryerson Kipp et moi

My coveted Billy Haines slipper chair from the 40’s makes a great statement piece.

Hot pink clutch and gold leather wrap bracelet by cousin Ted Kruckel at Gigi New York. Gorgeous Key Tassel candle (my favorite gifting item) by friend Elad Yifrach, founder of L’Objet. Tray by Royal Limoges from my factory tour purchases in Limoges, France a few years ago during Pairs (Maison et Objet) market— OBSESSED— bought the Asian-laquer-red china to match. The giant wishbone is by Nima Oberoi. I can’t remember where I picked it up, but it was a must-have-you moment. Looks like you can buy it at a number of places now, here’s one.

I rewired and cleaned this pretty, old chandelier (estate sale purchase) to add a little classic romance to the space.

Using a level, I simply hammered rows of nails into the wall to create a display for all my casual accessories. It’s much easier to accessorize when you can see all of your options. This is an easy project I highly recommend. I chose the wall that is usually hidden by the open closet door, but if you are doing this on a more prominent wall, you might want to get pretty brass hooks or decorative knobs to use instead, just to give it a little more polish.

I have too many funky old broaches (this one is Kenneth Jay Lane) lying unappreciated in a drawer, so why not use them to accentuate your boudoir decor?

I used a mixture of brass knobs for my accessories drawers.

Standard options for accessory organizers tend to be tacky, so I like to hide everything in drawers. Here, I’ve used a simple, modern desk accessory to hang all of my hoops and dangling earrings. It’s a great way to display and store them.

To purchase the full story (with before photos) for editorial or commercial use, it is now available at Red Cover.

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