As historic homes go, Brad Stoll and Catherine Jopling’s residence in German Village is not atypical. A quintessential shotgun–style home, the 1880s-era structure has undergone multiple changes throughout its lifespan. There have been piecemeal updates over the years. Layers of flooring were added on top of each other, representing literal layers of history. An addition of square footage took place in the late 1970s.
Despite the changes, it’s no surprise that the kitchen, while long on charm, was short on usable space. For Brad and Catherine, who are both avid cooks and love to entertain, a renovation was in order. But the room’s narrow footprint—one room wide, half a block long—presented unique challenges.
“The room ahead of the kitchen represented one time period, and the room behind it represented another, so the kitchen had to serve as a transition and connect rooms that are stylistically very different from one another,” explains Catherine.
Making the connection
To honor the historic legacy of one space and maintain the more modern vibe in the other, as well as achieve continuity throughout, the couple engaged Tyler Swartzmiller, principal designer with Haus Studio. Working with residential contractor DelBiondo Homes, he was able to maximize functional space, upgrade cabinetry, incorporate modern appliances, improve upon items that aren’t readily visible, like duct work, and enhance everything that is readily visible, like the color palette.
Catherine admits she was initially drawn to multiple colors and patterns, but Tyler encouraged her to tone it down slightly in an effort to think of what future buyers may find appealing. Thus the matte white of the appliances became the jumping off point for the cabinetry and the rest of the room, including the green of the island, Sherwin Williams’ Shade Grown.
“We wanted to add a bold color but nothing that would be offensive,” explains Tyler. “Greens, blues and earthy tones are very appealing to most buyers. They create an environment you want to be in.”
Touches of the green can be found throughout, such as the trim on one window. The light, bright cabinetry lining the kitchen’s perimeter is a putty hue and, though the room has height, the couple opted against a full second row of cabinets. Tyler suggested a trey ceiling with beams, as well as half-cabinets with clear-glass lighting, creating a feeling of loftiness without the wasted space that sometimes comes with high cabinets.
Topping it off
The countertops are Cambria quartz, which is harder than granite or marble, making it more durable and less likely to scratch, chip, or stain. Tyler worked closely with the couple to choose the right designs and finishes for their project, settling on Ironsbridge in a gloss finish, giving the countertops a cream base, and Charlestown in a matte finish, adding depth.
“Ironsbridge, often used as a marble alternative, has all of the beauty with none of the maintenance,” explains Marni Cercone from Cambria. “With a neutral background of whites and creams and veins of grey, Ironsbridge merges warm and cool tones, so it makes a strong design statement.”
It’s also maintenance free, so it doesn’t require regular sealing and polishing; homeowners can wipe it down with warm water and mild soap. “Cambria is nonporous and nonabsorbent so it won’t harbor any harmful bacteria,” adds Marni. “Especially now, a clean surface is a must.”
The kitchen flooring is comprised of cork, which is comfortable on weary cooks’ feet. It also serves to bridge the gap between the historic wood floors in the front of the home to the more modern flooring in the back. The drum lights above the island create a pleasing ambience, particularly in the evenings. The under–cabinet lighting is bluetooth controlled and, as Brad explains, “It’s already on in the morning when we come down, and we can switch to dim light in the evening when we’re relaxing. It creates a nice contrast.”
Nod to the neighborhood
There are numerous other small details that not only add panache but also honor the classic details of the original older home. The double herringbone backsplash, for instance, matches the home’s exposed brick and the sidewalks that are signature to the German Village. Other details? Some drawers have multiple tiers, and the pots and pans are separated by dowel dividers for easier storage. Not to be outdone by functionality, there are unique aesthetic details as well. For instance, the island drawers contain a walnut accent with a soft grain.
“When you open those drawers, it gives you a warm feeling,” explains Tyler. “Small details can really bring the entire kitchen together. It’s important to think outside the box.”
If thinking outside the box is trendy, so too is thinking beyond the countertop. Marni explains that Cambria is being used for everything from shelving and shower walls to furniture and fireplace surrounds. Other trends? Using a “chunkier” edge profile on islands to make a statement. She’s also seeing light wood cabinetry and flooring, which provides a fresh look; a mix of metal finishes on hardware, lighting, and hoods; and matte finishes across all materials.
Finally, naturalism is trending. Homeowners are currently eschewing the white, sterile kitchens and embracing wood tones and earthy hues. “After all,” concludes, Tyler, “People are spending more time in their houses these days, so they want them to be inviting.”
Designer: Tyler Swartzmiller, Haus Studio
Contractor: DelBiondo Homes
Cabinetry: Custom, Haus Studio
Flooring: Eco Cork Locking Collection in Pedras, America’s Floor Source
Countertops: Cambria Ironsbridge on island; Charlestown Matte on perimeter
Backsplash: Ragno Bianco in double herringbone
Faucets: Brizo Artesso in Luxe Gold
Refrigerator and oven: GE Cafe
Paint: Island in Sherwin Williams Shade Grown; Trim in Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter; Walls in Benjamin Moore Elmira White
Lighting: Savoy House Alden Pendants, Zanadoo Sconce
Photos by Samantha Rickman