Designer Sashya Thind, founder of ID8 Design Studio, was tasked with bringing a dated, dysfunctional kitchen up to speed for artist Joe Wardwell, his project manager wife, and their two daughters. When the designer first saw it, the large chimney and quirky layout made most of the space unusable. It was also quite dark, and as the first space you see upon entering the Boston home, it wasn’t representative of the fun family.

After an extensive renovation, the kitchen is now quite cozy and welcoming, serving as a perfect landing pad and the heart of the Victorian home. In a recent interview with editor Victoria de la Camara, Sashya told us more:

When you first connected with the clients, did they give you any design direction? Any particular things that they wanted… or absolutely didn’t want?
They wanted a space that was well lit naturally and be easy to entertain or allow their girls to do homework while cooking. We chose materials with character such as marble and artisanal floor tiles with rough sawn cabinet fronts designed by Norm Architects. 

The floor is radiant, warm and inviting. The wood burning stove of course had to stay, which was a source of inspiration for the sophisticated and industrial palette. I wanted the space to flow and yet feel fresh and update without being too precious. The idea for the owners was to run their hands over the counter or cabinets and feel the texture.

Help us understand the space – how did you change the layout or make it more functional?
The layout is U shaped. I created a mudroom bench, which then transforms into the dining bench/table area and creates a corner bench moment ending at the chimney breast. The cabinets wrap around to create an L. The refrigerator and pantry are in the narrower section, while the main prep counter, sink and cooktop are in the more accessible area. It was a quirky layout that we made the most of. We also designed a little breakfast counter with stools for the girls in the morning. 

Did Joe’s own art influence the project at all?
The green tile really tied in the color with the rest of the house and the painting “Burn Out” created by the owner gave us the idea at first. 

The details really make the space. What can you tell us about the hardware and accessories?
The hardware was also selected to have a similar worn, patina to them as they age. We had the table custom made by a local furniture maker, the chairs are Ercol and the bench is a maharam wool which is easy to maintain. We also used ceramic lighting from Worleys and Menu. They have the worn, handmade artisanal feel to them. 

What was a risk you took that ended up having a successful outcome?
The dark cabinets was a risk. Everyone was doing white cabinets to be safe and I wanted to go dark. Almost black. The clients were on board with that idea. I love working with clients who have an artist bent. They get the unpredictable concepts. 

How long did the project take and what did the homeowners say when they saw their completed kitchen?
The project took 7 months from design through completion. They were super excited to see it complete. They love using the space as it was intended and were hosting large groups before Covid.