Through the caring gifts of many, the Ruth Newman Shapiro (RNS) Cancer & Heart Fund Showhouse at the Shore 2003 in Ventnor, NJ, was again a rousing success. The finest interior designers, decorative painters and interior and exterior landscapers contributed their time and talents to benefit this humanitarian, all-volunteer organization. Through funds raised through the yearly tours of sumptuous estates—this year being Casa Del Mare, a magnificent oceanfront villa and the twelfth property to receive a lovely renovation—RNS has been able to establish the RNS Regional Cancer Center and The Heart Institute at Atlantic City Medical Center among many, many others.
This year, interior designer Jamie Gibbs, principal, Jamie Gibbs & Associates,
New York, NY, along with colleague Eileen Zeh, associate, donated their time
and talents to rework the kitchen and pantry areas at Casa Del Mare into what
may be considered, “Old World charm meets New World convenience.”
Built in the 1920s, the home’s kitchen and pantry had a paltry view and
little natural light. Coupled with fire damage, dry rot, a foundation settlement
problem, termites and 75 years of “crud,” Gibbs had his hands full—or
so we might think. “This isn’t my first showhouse,” Gibbs emphasized
recently. “This is my 49th! I’ve been doing them since 1990. It’s
a good cause and all I needed to do was study the space a little to determine
how to proceed.”
BRIDGING TIME AND SPACE
What transpired was his gift of being able to envision a humdrum space in full
glory—and then implement that vision. Gibbs first gutted the space; then
designed a country Italian kitchen with a multitude of interesting details and
a color palette of cream, English green and pink. Rich wood cabinetry, burnished
copper, the speed and accuracy of high-tech appliances, the vibrancy of Country
French fabrics and the gleam of polished granite evoked the memory of a more
gracious time of leisurely living, but certainly attended to the need for assuaging
today’s active lifestyle.
Working with Kitchen Craft of Canada, painted cabinetry in two rusticated finishes,
as well as natural granite countertops, a tile backsplash and flooring were selected
to complement the high-end appliances by Sub-zero, Wolf, Asko, and Franke. “Working
with Jamie on this kitchen has been a dream,” says Roberta Kravette, a
Kitchen Craft distributor in New York. “Together we have solved hundreds
of problems and stretched our imaginations.”
Wrought iron hardware, antiqued toile wallpaper and fabrics from Brewster Wallcoverings,
scads of All-Clad copper cookware, and fabulous tableware from Pfaltzgraff, Franciscan
Ware, Wedgwood and Waterford completed the Old World kitchen.
Across the room, the pantry was reinterpreted as a sophisticated wet bar, including
an open cabinetry area displaying beautiful china and other serving accessories.
The colors and patterns of the kitchen continued through this space, but incorporated
a formal twist on the décor with fine art and interesting accessories,
serving as a bridge to the adjoining dining room.
QUIRKY BUT GROUNDED
Beyond wonderful toile wallpapers and buttery-rich cabinetry, the windows were
a focal point in both rooms. Hunter Douglas Provenance Wood Woven blinds allowed
filtered light into the spaces, while screening the lack of view. Sumptuous toile
fabric coordinating with the wallpapers, was dressed into festive top treatments
and coordinated with other soft treatment elements such as skirts, lampshade
covers and napery. Plaid silk taffeta and “Vintage Collection Trims by
Jamie Gibbs” accented the soft accessories.
The new “old” kitchen breathed life and functionality into a dilapidated
space. “While we have retained interesting original architectural details
and worked with all the quirky angles and un-level construction, our kitchen
will last for the next generation of proud homeowners while always harkening
back to grounded European culinary traditions,” says Gibbs of the renovated
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis, MN.
She has more than eight years' experience covering trends, window treatments
and interior fashions, and is a former editor-in-chief of Window Fashions magazine.
Stoehr can be contacted for comments, queries and trend information at firstname.lastname@example.org.