The Perry’s Alabaster Island Paradise
Jen and Kyle Perry moved into their 1896 Saratoga Springs Victorian on its 110th birthday.
Seven years and two children later, they knew the kitchen had to go. Literally.
“It was a nice kitchen, but there was no space,” Jen said. “There was a butler’s pantry, which was cool, but we don’t have a butler.
“Our peninsula became our eating area, but it could only seat two people. So every meal, the kids would sit and my husband and I would stand next to them.”
The Perrys had been thinking about what they wanted their kitchen to be for years. What they wanted seemed impossible given the design of the home: a spacious work island, a comfortable kitchen dining area, a mudroom. They wanted light and air and sparkle in what was essentially a cramped, dark alley, boxed in by supporting walls. They wanted a pure, clean contemporary feel, but they wanted to respect the historic bones of the house and make sure the kitchen wasn’t jarringly disconnected from the rest of the home.
And Jen wanted white marble. Lots of it.
“I like white, and I like the movement of marble,” Jen said, undulated her hand gracefully. “Granite can be more speckled. But everyone suggested that marble was not the best idea because of the upkeep and the kids.”
Luckily, the Perrys had already done some renovations on their home – turning the attic into a guest apartment, transforming the basement into a gym and craft room – and they had come to trust their builder – Teakwood – to perform the impossible. Jen said when the basement was finished she was almost sad to see the Teakwood carpenters go. They’d become “like family, and the kids really loved having them in the house.”
“I don’t even remember if we were friends before the first job,” Perry said. “Teakwood to us was just one of those high-end contracting companies that were known for doing really good work.”
From start to finish, the kitchen project took a year, partly because the redesign required a floor-to-ceiling gutting and partly because of the exhaustive search for materials that would meet Jen’s approval. For the all-important countertops, Teakwood suggested super white quartzite slab, which has the feel and look of marble without the tendency to etch and crack. Jen was dead set on marble and made numerous family research roadtrips around the Northeast to seek professional opinions and look at rocks.
“I was probably Teakwood’s most particular customer ever as far as the materials went,” Jen laughed. “In the end, we went with the first thing they suggested, because they were right.”
Teakwood designer Eva Andersen got the Perrys to focus on light fixtures and hardware for the millwork cabinetry, which was custom-built to match the beautiful woodwork original to the home. Jen said she didn’t really see those “furnishings” to be as important as her major purchases, such as the counters and the hand-crafted, hand-sanded Quality Custom Cabinetry.