When a 1920s colonial-style beach house in New Jersey needed a kitchen renovation, its owners turned to New York-based interior designer Nicole Cohen. With a background as a multidisciplinary artist, Cohen approaches design through a visual lens, playing with composition, color and form in an accessible way.
Here, she found inspiration from original architecture, including stucco walls and arches, and chose to “work with” historical features rather than against them. However, “the original kitchen was too small and in poor condition,” Cohen said, citing a lack of colour, a non-functional floor plan and an outdated Fumica finish. “It doesn’t make sense for a young family who wants to spend a lot of time in an apartment.”
Cohen wanted to create a kitchen that could easily fit into the family—without feeling crowded while cooking or entertaining. Working with the team at Monmouth Custom Builders, the designers began an 8-month renovation that included the kitchen, pool, basement and balcony, all of which combined to create a 4,000-square-foot retreat.
To make the kitchen the true heart of the home, the team opened up the space into an L shape connecting the dining room, study and back porch. Now it’s full of color and light.
Take the star of the show, for example: green mosaic floor tiles. “The couple let us know they love green, and we wanted to make sure it was highlighted,” Cohen said. “I discovered this tile while researching other materials for this project and it felt like the perfect match.”
Custom castle wood cabinets, Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, and a custom terrazzo dining table make the kitchen “feel special,” Cohen said. “In every project I work on, I always try to create a piece of furniture that can live in a client’s home. With this table, we customize the aggregate and shape.”
Simply White by Benjamin Moore opens up the space, Schoolhouse deVOL kitchen and fixtures create glowing layered lighting, and Mosaic House floor tiles add character. “Color makes the space vibrant and exciting,” she said. “I love the joyful feel of the space, like the perfect place to eat ripe peaches and homemade pasta.”