One family’s goal in renovating their formerly dark, closed-off galley-style kitchen? Open up and let the sun shine in
Tudors have a dark reputation—literally. Their low-light interiors are typically rich with exposed timbers, stained glass, and burnished-oak millwork. How to create a kitchen that’s a pleasant partner to those elements, while fully functional for today?
That was the challenge put to Studio Dearborn designer Sarah Robertson by the longtime owners of this 1929 Tudor Revival in Larchmont, New York. “They wanted a kitchen that brought in the home’s period details, but in a way that felt cleaner, not heavy and traditional,” she says.
After: Expanding the footprint and adding new, larger windows opened up a space now washed in warm whites. Touches of oak and brass echo the Tudor Revival style and add rich contrast, but in a way that feels clean and fresh. The curves of the crown molding echo the arch-top doorways.
Decorative Finishes: Katharine Dufault, State of the Art Home; Pendants: Design Within Reach; Faucets: Brizo
To pull off an airy revamp, they bumped out the sink wall of the existing kitchen by about 7 feet and relocated a powder room, more than doubling the footprint. This allowed Robertson to configure the layout just the way she likes: an island with a prep sink and seating in the center; the main sink under new, wider windows with the range perpendicular to it; and the refrigerator just a few steps away. With space to spare, she added a table with four chairs at the other end.
New oak flooring meshes with the rest of the house; more oak wraps the island and trims out the range hood. While researching online, Robertson came across original arch-top doors from a Tudor estate in England and asked her cabinetmaker to re-create them, then match the home’s existing casings. Sleek brass pulls and faucets update the classic period finish and punctuate flat-panel cabinets painted a warm white and topped with veined quartzite. Some 21st-century touches update the space, including a hidden charging station and mid-century tile and light fixtures. Call it Tudor—with a twist.
The expanded kitchen now holds a generous-size island with room for a couple of stools, as well as a table that seats four away from the meal-prep action. A trio of new windows over the sink channel natural light into the space, as does a windowed door off the range wall that leads to the pantry.
Paint: Light Pewter (walls) and White Opulence (cabinets), Benjamin Moore; Sinks: Kohler; Island stools: ABC Carpet & Home; Table pendant lamp: Hudson Valley Lighting; Table: Withers & Grain; Chairs: Restoration Hardware; Windows: Lepage Millwork
Shown left: A drawer with built-in charging ports keeps cords out of sight. Below it, a file drawer organizes household records, says Robertson, creating “a mini office right within reach.” White macauba quartzite with teal veining tops the quartersawn oak island, offering marble-like beauty with the durability of granite.
Shown right: “With low drawers placed directly across from the dishwasher, you can unload straight into them-—ideal for heavy dishes,” Robertson says. Wood pegs fit into pegboard-style drawer bottoms for flexible storage that safely cradles nested dishes in place.
Shown left: A hutch-like built-in to the left of the refrigerator holds bar supplies and a wine fridge. The white backsplash tile has a subtle mid-century geometric pattern; running it up the backs of the glass-front cabinets creates continuity and helps tie the whole space together.
Shown right: As you enter off the center hall, arch-top double doors open up to offer a sight line all the way through the kitchen to the windowed pantry door.
Shown left: A custom drawer front with an inset for a paper-towel holder keeps this necessity close at hand but off the counter; space behind it holds dish towels. The pullout below has an easy-to-clean stainless-steel insert to keep trash and recycling bins tidy.
Shown right: The island holds a steam oven opposite the built-in fridge. The windowed arch-top door along the range wall leads to a new pantry.
New oak floors are finished to blend with those in the rest of the house. Oak trim on the vent hood warms up a sea of white, and echoes the oak island.
Door hardware: Charleston Hardware Co.
At 140 square feet, the lackluster cook space felt closed off and gloomy, with little natural light.
Moving the sink wall out by 7 feet and annexing a powder room area opened up the now 320-square-foot kitchen, allowing for an island and a table for four.
- Bumped out the sink wall and added larger windows over the sink; put in a French door to a new deck and relocated the powder room.
- Kept the cooktop location on the wall perpendicular to the sink, upgrading it to a pro-style range.
- Added an island with a prep sink, steam oven, and seating.
- Placed the refrigerator steps from the range and prep sink, with a built-in bar alongside it.
- Carved out an eating area by moving the powder room; got rid of the door to the foyer, adding a cased opening; and reversed the swing of the basement door.