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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Guest Bath Makeover

Here’s a good weekend project for you to tackle on this Saturday morning:
Breathe new life into that awful bathroom you have been aching to change.
Because I used a few items I already had, I only spent $150 to transform my guest bath in one weekend.

Here were my steps for the Guest Bath Transformation:
1. I removed wallpaper (Supplies: $30)
2. patched, primed, painted walls (I chose a cool grey so it would look nice with the existing green stone countertop. Paint: $50)
3. cabinetry: removed hardware, filled holes, and sanded the cabinets lightly all over
4. rubbed the cabinets with the wall color on a rag & let it dry
5. sanded the cabinets to the desired amount of distressed
6. drilled holes for new hardware and installed (New hardware: $40)
7. got bath mats to mask the flooring that I didn’t replace (New bath mats: $30)
8. hung a reclaimed wood mirror (that used to hang on the porch of my last house) over the existing mirror (you could do this with just a frame as well. Restoration Hardware Mirror: $$)
9. leaned an oversized photograph at the far end of the bath for drama (Garage sale from artist $20)
10. used a freestanding towel rack I already had for a little old world charm (Waterworks Towel Rack $$)

_Photo Apr 16, 3 08 46 PM

_Photo Apr 16, 3 00 23 PM_Photo Apr 16, 3 03 01 PM _Photo Apr 16, 2 59 30 PM_Photo Apr 16, 2 59 53 PMBeforeAfterBathroom4BeforeAfterBathroom3BeforeAfterBathroom

Holiday House Hamptons 2014

I visited the Holiday House Hamptons this past weekend. Spanning several units of the newly restored Watchcase, a 19th century historic factory building in the bustling downtown of Sag Harbor, NY.

The units were bright and spacious with high ceilings and restored original pine beams and exposed brick walls. Rustic and industrial meets modern with the oversized arched factory windows, oak floors, and sleek stone surfaces throughout the kitchens and baths. The designers really pulled some incredible rooms together that were lively, unexpected and fun. Below are my favorites.

You can still see the exhibits until September 1, 2014. They are open daily 11am – 5pm and located at 15 Church Street, Sag Harbor, NY.

Bedroom by Jen Going Interiors

Bedroom by Jen Going Interiors

Bedroom by Jen Going Interiors

Kitchen and Living Room decorated by Huniford Design Studios

Living Room decorated by Huniford Design Studios

I think this was my favorite room, designed by Tamara Magel Home. I just saw these incredible light fixtures (by Apparatus Studio) at the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) in May. They are spectacular: note the cone shape is porcelain.

Campion Platt’s playful Master Bedroom

Gorgeous details of Campion Platt’s playful Master Bedroom

Colorful and rich art by Dagmara Weinberg

Nicely styled side table in Scott Formby’s Living/Dining Room

details from Scott Formby’s Living/Dining Room

A great little seat in Scott Formby’s Living/Dining Room

The comfy and chic Living/Dining area of the Townhouse by West Chin Architects & Interior Designers

A detail of the Knotty Bubbles Chandelier by Lindsey Adelman for Roll & Hill in the Living/Dining area of the Townhouse by West Chin Architects & Interior Designers

A detail from the Living/Dining area of the Townhouse by West Chin Architects & Interior Designers

A detail from the Living/Dining area of the Townhouse by West Chin Architects & Interior Designers

The kitchen in the Townhouse

Details from the kitchen in the Townhouse

A detail from the kitchen in the Townhouse

The Den in the Townhouse by Elizabeth Dow Home. Chandelier by Lindsay Adelman, Pillows by Dransfield & Ross, wall covering by Elizabeth Dow Studio

A detail of the Den in the Townhouse by Elizabeth Dow Home. Pillows by Dransfield & Ross, wall covering by Elizabeth Dow Studio

Detail from Elsa Soyars’ Townhouse Bedroom

Details from Elsa Soyars’ Townhouse Bedroom. Croc wall covering from Crezana Design

Townhouse Master Bedroom by Brady Design

A detail from the Townhouse Master Bedroom by Brady Design

A detail from the Townhouse Master Bedroom by Brady Design

I love this detail. The designer continued the stripes from the drapes onto the walls in paint

Here are links to the Designers, Artists and Craftsmen mentioned above:
Jen Going Interiors
Huniford Design Studios
Tamara Magel Home
Apparatus Studio
Campion Platt
Dagmara Weinberg
Scott Formby
West Chin Architects & Interior Designers
Roll & Hill
Elizabeth Dow Home
Lindsay Adelman
Dransfield & Ross
Elsa Soyars
Crezana Design
Brady Design

Cape Cod Mod

In the quiet town of Orleans, on the Cape of Massachusetts, lives a couple with their two English Setters, Dotty & Betsey (those are the dogs). Chris Ramel is retired but an avid sportsman and his wife, Mary MacLellan (, is a practicing architect. They moved here a few years ago from Denver and though Mary has spent a good amount of her life visiting the Cape and her brothers all live there, they fall into the loving category of “wash-ashores” which, according to locals, includes anyone residing on the Cape that is not a native since birth.

Despite the name they have successfully renovated and restored a very classic Cape Cod style home…and added a tasteful addition (Mary’s design) to accommodate an extensive art collection, a spacious and modern kitchen with sitting area, a living room with lofted studio (Mary’s office), a master suite, a 2-car garage, and—last but not least—an outdoor shower that is to die for. Their blending of classic antiques with very modern accents—throughout the home—is a pleasant surprise. But, much like the warm hosts, the kitchen in particular really grabs you and draws you in.

The vast and sleek Bulthaup kitchen that Mary envisioned for the space is now a reality

The kitchen shares a spacious room with this sitting area so that the couple can entertain while they cook. Dining and side chairs by Cassina. The large abstract is by painter Edward Holland:

One of the Ramels’ English Setters. This one is Betsey. Very shy with guests but incredibly loving and apparently an impressive hunting partner.
Chairs by Cassina


The large dining table is equipped to accommodate quite a crowd.

Mary has a beautiful collection of matte Wedgewood Black Basalt china.
The clay body, black basalt, was developed and introduced by Josiah Wedgwood in the late 1700’s was going to be the new big thing; “Black is Sterling and will last forever”

strong yet playful piece (subject: popcorn) by Barbara Breedon entitled “Wheelers of Course” which is a farm in Hudson, Ohio that Mary frequented as a child and remembers the popcorn fondly.

Tucked behind every sleek panel in the kitchen is a hidden alcove for very well-thought-out storage.

The sink has a great setup. With two large bays, a swiveling wall-mounted Bulthaup faucet and a cutting board that sits in the grooves of the sink edge, you can prep and clean just about anything with efficiency. Each panel behind the sink opens to reveal storage for cleaning supplies, spice racks, knife storage, a murphy-bed-style fold-out cutting board, and more.


After years of custom range tops—in homes Mary has designed—she found a 4-burner side-by-side range top. This one is by Foster for Bulthaup kitchens. This allows Chris & Mary to cook up gourmet meals without leaning over other simmering pots. According to them it really opens up the work space. AND you don’t have that small stretch of counter in the back that is impossible to clean. I love this solution!

Note the uniquely designed range hood. The strip along the bottom is a light and the seven long skinny panels above it swivel open individually when the vent is turned on.

Also by Bulthaup are the ingenious in-wall accessories, including this great little cookbook rest to the right of the range.

Appliances by Miele. Refrigerator (above) and Freezer (below) are cleanly hidden in the two right cabinets. There is ample space for the couple’s daily needs but they have a refrigerator in the basement for when they entertain large crowds or bring game birds home from a hunting trip.

a view from the sitting area into the wet bar

Three french-made Guinea hen sculptures adorn the buffet

The paintings that flank the doorway into the original part of the home are by Colorado artist Warren

The wet bar (a miniature full kitchen) equipped with sink, 2 small refrigerators and more storage—house the coffee-maker, microwave and toaster oven. The painting to the right of the window is by prominent Colorado artist, Molly Davis.

The wet bar (a miniature full kitchen) equipped with sink, 2 small refrigerators and more storage—house the coffee-maker, microwave and toaster oven.

Sink and counters by stone fabricator out of Bellows Falls, VT

the slick and hidden double-decker refrigerator in the wet bar


The front of the home. Still in progress as they landscape and build a stone wall to encapsulate what will be a robust herb and flower garden.

The entryway with sliding barn door



Beneath the Surface

Talented photographer and dear friend, Laura Moss, has made her work available to the tasteful masses at last! Via FotoFoam, you can now purchase her large-scale prints and they will arrive mounted, framed to your liking, and ready to hang.

Her recent underwater photography is gorgeous and ultra-saturated (double-entendre): some polished and bright, others eery and beautiful. I spent a water-logged day with Laura last summer swimming around in floor-length gowns (a few shown below), which was certainly a unique and hilarious way to spend a hot afternoon.

Here’s a sampling of Laura’s underwater work: definitely a nice design solution for adding color to a room in one fell swoop. And I think you’ll find that FotoFoam’s framing options are incredibly chic and—according to their site—time-tested and made with the best materials.