What once was a dark and cramped kitchen is now a light-filled, unified and functional space, all in thanks to designer Sherry Hope-Kennedy of Studio SHK. Her clients, both doctors with two growing girls and elderly parents who often visit, had lived in the house for some time before they approached Sherry, so they already had a sense of what was — and wasn’t — working. “Structurally, the property was in good shape,” Sherry says. “However, the circulation and layout did not fit their needs – the main floor, while it had square footage, was very cramped. A small enclosed kitchen and pantry, blocked the flow and natural light. The sunken living room felt disjointed, as well as created created a tripping/falling hazard for the grandparents. The family lacked adequate storage, and the space was very cluttered.”

The initial design directive was to remodel the kitchen and bathroom, and to remove the unused fireplace in the living room. For furnishings, they wanted to reuse some of the pieces that had been given to them by their parents, such as the sectional sofa and the dining chandelier. “Moreover, they requested a bright space in the kitchen for the kids to do their homework, as well as a great space for cooking. The husband had a more modern style and the wife had a more traditional style,” the designer shares.

The project took about 9 months to complete, and involved quite a few changes. “Taking down the kitchen walls that separated it from the main living space created a great room, perfect for family gatherings. We raised the living room floors which created a large, uninterrupted space. Since the family has large gatherings, the extra seating in the kitchen is nice touch, as it is not far from the dining room,” Sherry explains. To keep the space feeling fresh and connected to the architecture, the furnishings and silhouettes are streamlined and tailored. “The homeowners had some great statement and mainstay pieces. The challenge was finding supplemental accessories and furnishings that fit their budget. Once we remodeled the space, we went to our favorite showrooms and were able to purchase floor samples, which were at a great savings to our clients.”

From start to finish, the multigenerational family drove the design. The space had to accommodate the needs of the grandparents whose mobility is limited, and afford the family to live an active lifestyle. “Knowing this was key — it prompted me to think of the space as one level,” Sherry recalls. “Thinking about lighting was also key. During the day, natural light floods the space. At night, it is dark. For safety and for aesthetics, we installed multiple overhead lights to brighten-up the entire level. Storage and having a work space was also a factor. In the kitchen, we created a desk nook with open shelves, providing the family a quiet area for focused work.” The result is a livable, light-filled space that is both elegant and approachable — with room for everyone.