The Little Kitchen that Could…

Situated on a gently winding section of the Black Hall River Marsh in Old Lyme, the original part of this hybrid home was built in 1840 with several additions over time. The latest addition brings new life to Kevin and Nancy Murphy’s petite kitchen which opens to a cathedral ceiling living room with dazzling views of the sunset where marshland meets farmland on the river bend. A spectacular view is like having seasonally changing artwork and the design of the space was to showcase the view.

The kitchen ceiling is not quite 7 feet which made designing the pieces to the appropriate scale imperative to the overall look and balance of the space. Even the size of the pendant lighting became crucial to the overall design due to the low ceiling.

“Although small, this kitchen has all the perks of a larger space, the trick for us was how to fit it all into the plan without overpowering the design,” Gerard Ciccarello, owner of Covenant Kitchens & Baths, explains. Proper dimensions being critical, a 27” refrigerator was the best fit here in this home for two. The design challenge of this space was that the area adjacent to the refrigerator was partially blocked by an electrical panel that could not be moved. The solution was the design of 27” pantry to balance the neighboring refrigerator and to hide the electrical box, making the most of the available space while keeping the proportions ideal. “Keeping the colors subdued was also a key in this small space. Lighter and brighter, the kitchen becomes a backdrop for whatever table top accessories and family heirloom collections are featured at the time” added Ciccarello.
Ivory cabinetry with simple detailed flat panel inset doors gives the room a neat manicured look which is helpful in streamlining the look of a smaller space. Leathered Colonial Gold granite counter tops on the perimeter and island provide a softness that seems to glow in any light. A lighted glass front cabinet houses the homeowner’s antique glassware collection. Crackle subway field tile with focal points of framed soft white and off white glass tiles add understated elegance.
A sleek microwave oven drawer, wall oven, paneled refrigerator and dishwasher, white cast iron sink and pull out spray faucet round out the list of amenities.

Project Highlights

• Create a functional small space with high end appliances; wall oven was a must have
• Lighten and brighten this interior room kitchen
• Take advantage of water views through the newly added adjoining living room
• Space for casual entertaining
Design Challenges:
• Being a 170 year old home, ceilings in the kitchen were low and out of level
• Space is small but did not want to sacrifice amenities
• Electrical panel cut in to the prime cabinet real estate in the kitchen

Design Solutions:
• Scale the size of all materials used in the space to fit the smaller proportions including appropriate sized appliances
• Sacrifice some ceiling height in order to get the ceiling level
• Island with wine cooler and seating for three answers casual entertaining needs
• Pantry cabinet built around chimney chase hides it and creates more usable storage space

Design Features:
• Under counter wine cooler in the island
• Beautiful glimmer of glass tile featured in the back splash both over the stove and over the sink
• Light switch for pendant lights tucked out of sight under the stool opening in the island
• Beautiful nickel pendants with fabric shades are just the right size for the space


  1. the kitchen is so wonderful. knowing that the kitchen is the heart of a home, it is important to make it beautiful.Store Self Storage


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