Test KitchenAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Alison Pickart refreshes the home of a seasoned design executive
WITH MANY MAJOR RENOVATION projects, seasoned designers are hired to redesign only one room, often leading to an overhaul of the entire home. When Alison Pickart was enlisted to remodel the kitchen inside a 1930s shingle- style cottage in the “flats” of Ross, the remainder of the walls soon started to fall then quickly got recovered in tile and wallpaper.
The clients hail from the East Coast and wanted the aesthetic to reflect their origins. Both well- traveled with excellent taste in design and beyond, the wife, who’s a senior executive at Restoration Hardware, challenged Pickart to incorporate the brand’s furnishings in a major way that at the same time wasn’t so RH. “She wanted to come home to a space that didn’t feel like she was still at work,” says Alison Pickart. “It was fascinating to watch the actions of a brand executive who was taking stock of all parts of the company’s process. From the order and delivery experience to performance and customer service, she was using her own project as a sort of ‘test kitchen’ on how they might improve as a company.”
Pickart’s inspiration with the kitchen overhaul began with the windows. By enlarging a main bank of windows that now shed light on both the kitchen and family dining space, it allowed the house to take on a more relaxed tone than before. “It was really important to create a beautiful sight line both toward the windows and fireplace,” says Pickart, “so that the spaces would work together and not feel out of place with one another.” Balance was also achieved with the custom French-inspired cabinetry that flanks the bank, which is adorned with wall sconces from Urban Electric.
Moving into the master bathroom, Pickart had to make the shallow space feel bigger and play an integral role in the master bedroom design. She achieved this by designing custom French doors that could remain open as well as a custom vanity painted in full-gloss Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball. The cabinet feels more like a stunning piece of furniture and takes center stage, while the shower and toilet are tucked neatly to each side out of view.
Hornbeam wallpaper by Farrow & Ball enhances the richness of the space while infusing it with bold, jewel-tone colors. “Throughout the process the clients kept getting more and more daring with color and pattern,” says the designer. “They definitely wanted to see the fun, darling charm of the house shine through.”