Kitchen of the Week: Modern Farmhouse With an Open Look

Grace Lin and Warun Kumar wanted to get things right. They spent years planning the renovation of their historic Colonial home in Scarsdale, New York, which included relocating the original kitchen to the opposite side of the house to be closer to a more recent garage addition. After demolition began, the couple met with designer Sarah Robertson, whom they found on Houzz, to focus on the kitchen. But looking at 3D mockups, they learned that what was possible in their new home plan didn’t quite live up to the kitchen they had dreamed of. So they went back to the drawing board, and Robertson didn’t hear from the couple for several months.

Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: Grace Lin, a behavior therapist; Warun Kumar, who’s in finance; and their three kids, ages 4, 8 and 9.
Location: Scarsdale, New York
Size: About 405 square feet (38 square meters); 27 by 15 feet; there’s also an adjacent 8-by-13-foot breakfast area
Designer: Sarah Robertson of Studio Dearborn
That’s interesting: The house once belonged to Walter Winchell, a famous newspaper and radio gossip commentator in the 1930s and ’40s.

When they reached out to her again, Lin and Kumar had redrawn part of the house and changed the foundation plan to include a bump-out addition to the kitchen that added 100 square feet. This changed everything, giving the couple the more open feeling they wanted, along with more cabinets and room for an eat-in area.

With the floor plan finally settled, the couple and Robertson got to work adding the bells and whistles the designer is known for in her kitchens: custom storage compartments for things like cutting boards, spices and bread; pullouts for trash and recycling; and more.

An almost 13-foot island anchors the long kitchen and features a quartz slab countertop that looks like Calacatta marble and transitions into a stained rift oak countertop.

On this visible side of the island, a vertical storage slot for a large serving tray splits two 30-inch freezer drawers. Robertson decided to locate the freezer storage here so she could use a single refrigerator cabinet to the left of the sink, which allowed her to keep the full size of the window. “They don’t use freezer stuff that often so it didn’t need to be in a prime location,” she says.
Warun spent a lot of time looking for the right range, eventually settling on a BlueStar in steel, black and antique brass that works well with the other kitchen finishes. The black and brass range hood is custom.

A steam oven sits on the end of the island opposite the range. The microwave is on the side of the island opposite the refrigerator.

Lin’s Houzz ideabooks contained lots of photos of bluish-gray cabinets, but a color consultant suggested a gray that had greenish-yellowish undertones and she went with it. “I worried about it until the day it went up and then I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s beautiful,’ ” Lin says.
Robertson rarely designs a kitchen these days without a recessed paper towel holder like the one seen here above the recycling bins.

To get a good idea of a Sarah Robertson kitchen, Lin, Kumar and Robertson visited one of her previous kitchen designs in nearby Larchmont. This gave the couple the opportunity to see and feel custom cabinets and experience layouts and ask the homeowner in-depth questions about the remodeling process, what to expect and if there were any things they would have changed. “They feel the cabinet finish, open and shut the drawers, interact with the millwork details and walk around to get a sense of how storage was thought about,” Robertson says. “Things you can’t get from photos.”

Robertson is also known for custom drawer inserts. Here, a stainless steel bread box is housed in a drawer at the base of a countertop cabinet. Cabinet construction is also a Robertson hallmark. “The craftsman quality is beautiful stuff,” Lin says. “The attention to detail and quality of wood really stands out.”