Worth the Wait

Patience is a virtue that is not always easy to conjure when you’re ready to remodel a kitchen. Especially when you’re an interior designer…as Jill Kalman has learned.

When the designer and her family moved into their Westport, Conn., home in 2002, it had just been remodeled by the previous owner two years earlier.

“Even though it wasn’t our style, it was current to kitchen trends at the time,” says Jill, owner of Jill Kalman Interiors. “Natural maple cabinets, a tall, tiled island and square tile flooring. It was live-in ready so we knew we would be waiting a while for our design turn.”

And wait they did. The Kalman crew mustered 18 years of patience, waiting until fall 2020 to start their redesign. But, Kalman says, that gave them more time to know what they really wanted in a dream kitchen.

“I knew we needed to stay within the same footprint because the cooking space was centered around the island, making a new gas line hard to install,” said Kalman. “It was just a matter of modernizing with paint, flooring and tile and making room for the new island with a cooktop.”

Photographer: Julia D’Agostino

Since the gas line was an issue, Jill started researching induction ovens. Choosing the appliances was by far the easiest decision, especially with a Monogram test kitchen close by.

Aitoro Appliance has been our local, family-owned go-to appliance store for years, and it was so exciting when they added the Monogram Design Center and test kitchen,” says Jill. “I did a cooking session with Ria Rueda, Aitoro’s Monogram Design Center manager, and was blown away.

Jill adds, “As an avid cooker, once you actually try an induction cooktop, you love it. The controls are so precise, more so than gas in my opinion. If you have a home where a gas line can’t be installed, yet you still want that kind of performance, the induction oven is your answer. It’s really enhanced our cooking experience.”

The larger 36” Monogram 5-burner induction cooktop in silver and 30” smart electric convection single wall oven statement collection were the standout choices, and really became the centerpieces around which Jill designed.

Photographer: Julia D’Agostino

“For a modern palette, the silver cooktop is a perfect choice, and, aesthetically, it made a really big difference as far as the design,” Jill says.

Photographer: Julia D’Agostino

To build on the warmth from the silver, Jill chose warm gray cabinets, a white marble countertop with veins of gray, and a neutral burnished brass hardware that pulled from the brass touches on the steel of the cooktop.

Photographer: Julia D’Agostino

“Using color for the cabinets and brass hardware has really been on-trend,” says Kalman. “There is something about adding a little hint of color, or even adding a bold color, to the kitchen that makes it feel more like the other rooms in the house but still utilitarian. Our kitchens are task areas, but at the same time we’re in them so much, especially since COVID, you want to feel good in there.”

And feel good they do, even if they did have to wait for it.

Photographer: Julia D’Agostino

“Everyone is enjoying the appliances and cooking on them,” says Jill. “And with the island being so open, my kids love sitting across from me, chatting and watching me cook. At the end of the work day when you’re trying to figure out that dinner dilemma, I feel like ‘alright, I can do this.’ I find cooking really joyful anyway and now it’s even more so.”

Jill lives with her husband, two daughters and two dogs, and predominately designs for young families that are moving from a major city to the suburbs. She is also a member of the Monogram Designer Collective through the Monogram Design Center at Aitoro Appliance in Norwalk, Connecticut. Learn more about Jill at jillkalmaninteriors.com.

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