Give Your Home the Best Gift Ever…a New Kitchen

From Our Design Blog Archives: First Published Nov. 10, 2016

A new kitchen will not only make you, your family, and your home happy, it is one of the best ways to add value to your house should you ever decide to put it on the market. 

Last night as I cooked dinner, helped my daughter with her homework, listened to the news and enjoyed my evening routine, I took a moment to appreciate what is certainly the heart of my family’s home…the kitchen.  More than just a place to prepare meals, the kitchen is a hub for all sorts of activity in today’s homes and this fact is really nothing new.

This past summer while on vacation, I visited a historic home in New England.  During the tour, the tour guide stopped in the kitchen and asked everyone to note that it was the largest room in the house because of all the family activities that happened in the room.  While today’s families may not have to sleep near the fire in the kitchen during the winter to keep warm, the colonial importance of the kitchen still rings true today.  The “farm to table” movement of recent decades extends off the plate and into the actual design of our homes, harkening back to the farmhouses of the past while maintaining all the conveniences of a modern kitchen.

To this end, Rafe Churchill, whose architectural design firm in Sharon, CT has created many modern, country kitchens (including my own), is the perfect expert to inspire us on this post.  Rafe is a third-generation master builder and this, combined with his architectural chops, allows him to understand both the aesthetic and the practical, the form and the function of a project. In his own words, “Our goal is to design traditional, understated interiors. Honest and simple houses that enhance daily life”.  At Hammertown we are so inspired by Rafe’s work and I know you will be as well.

So whether you are looking to build a new home (with an amazing kitchen) or renovating your current kitchen, here are some inspiration photos and links to Rafe’s kitchen work (

Here are some of our favorite Kitchens

1. I’ll start with this one since it’s my own.  I loved the way Rafe designed the hood over the stove (left) as well as the floating, single cabinet (the only one in the whole kitchen).


2. This kitchen exemplifies for me the idea of how traditional design elements can come together in a modern way.


3. This kitchen really combines surfaces and textures so well. The dark wood island, soapstone counters and paneled backsplash by the refrigerator all combine to give this space a soul….as if it has been here for awhile but with all the modern amenities.


4. This is probably the most contemporary kitchen in Rafe’s portfolio. (2 photos) I love the simplicity of the space. The neutral colors, simple horizontal lines of the upper cabinetry and exposed beams provide a nice nod to the past while the modern lighting and furnishings, as well as the steel doors to the mudroom, provide the perfect amount of contemporary contrast.



5. I love this all “white” kitchen in which the detailed woodwork, unique lighting and kitchen window view are the stars of the show.


6. This kitchen reminds me how much I love an uncluttered space. (two photos) While large in square footage, this space feels remarkably traditional and simple. Windows line one wall in place of upper cabinetry and painted wooden knobs replace the more commonly used metal pulls. In a totally modern way, this reminds me of my grandmother’s real farmhouse kitchen growing up….more in the feeling it evokes than the actual look of the kitchen. 



All of these kitchens remind me of the real magic inherent to Rafe’s interiors and kitchens: In each space you get a sense of history and purpose that is not blatant.  It is a feeling and a look…..hard to put words on this…they just “work”. 

I hope this post has given you some design ideas.  If you’d like help in planning/designing a new kitchen for your own home, check in with Rafe and his team. Visit his website, for more information and contact details.

Once the process is underway, our Hammertown Design Team is ready to help you with paint and surface choices as well as lighting and and interior design decisions. Just email me at and we are happy to help.