Modern white kitchen with island and dark grey full height cabinets

This renovation of a 70’s-era center-entry colonial house transforms the interior of the ground floor to match the homeowners’ lifestyle and modern aesthetic. Formerly a series of dimly lit rooms, the renovation opens up the first floor and creates an airy interior with bright white and natural finishes.

Floor plan of the renovation


One of the drivers of the renovation was needing a larger kitchen and finding space for a walk-in pantry. The existing series of rooms also did not match the homeowners’ lifestyle, with the family room feeling superfluous given the living room and sunroom on the first floor and the entertainment room in the finished basement. The dining room, which was undersized for its gatherings, shifts to the front family room, and the kitchen expands for better functionality.


The renovation modernizes the entire home’s first floor. The palette throughout is new wide plank light wood flooring, contemporary trim, new sleek radiators, and bright white wall paint to create a spacious interior.

Modern living room in a colonial house
Modern fireplace


The renovated fireplace anchors the living room. The existing brick fireplace and hearth are recladded with engineered stone panels. This expression carries up to the ceiling, and a fireplace insert with glass doors completes the modern look. New built-in cabinets create an overall cohesive focal element for the room.


In the foyer, new wood treads and risers and a stainless-steel guardrail with clean minimal lines update the existing stair up to the second floor. The walnut handrails continue the wood palette used in the kitchen.

Modern residential stair case with stainless steel guardrail
Modern kitchen with white gloss base cabinets, matte dark grey full height cabinets, and walnut open shelving.


The kitchen renovation, which initiated the overall project, sought clean, modern lines; a calming palette and an efficient layout to make the room bright and airy despite having only a single window to the exterior; and much-improved functionality. With the enlarged footprint, a long island is added to the center of the kitchen, perfect for both entertaining and cooking prep. 


The white gloss cabinets and light-colored engineered stone countertops reflect light into the kitchen and brighten the room. The matte dark grey full-height cabinets add a contrasting counterpoint both in color and finish. The full-height cabinets are packed with functions, including an appliance garage at the counter, wall ovens, full sized side by side refrigerator and freezer units, and lots of storage. The wood floors, heated tile flooring, and walnut accent pieces bring additional warm tones into the kitchen. The design’s clean lines are continued into the details with integral pulls at the base cabinets and push functions at the full-height cabinet doors maintaining the sleek look.

Modern kitchen with dark grey matte full height cabinets and white gloss drawer base cabinets
Modern kitchen with white cabinets, walnut open shelves, and walnut seating console


The walnut wood brings a feeling of tactility and warmth to the kitchen. The island seating console, the open shelving above the countertop and along the wall, and the window trim are all sourced from a single tree. Throughout the process, we refined the design of these elements as the kitchen’s highlights. During construction, the exact selection of the wood was a priority, and the contractor and homeowners visited the mill together. Happily, the millowner had a large walnut tree that they were drying and dressing, and it proved to be the perfect selection for this kitchen.


As in many of our projects, we used our warm modern approach throughout this design. The technique combines outdoor views and changing daylight, plants and natural materials, refreshing neutral palettes, and subtle textures and finishes, creating a modern space imbued with warmth and biophilia.

Modern kitchen backsplash with walnut open shelving
Modern kitchen work aisle with white drawer base cabinets and walnut open shelving


The clear surface of the island countertop serves many functions readily, from prep space to gathering spot to buffet. The walnut seating console anchors the island corner, and the round table at the far end of the kitchen provides an additional gathering area. The work aisle hosts all the prep functionality with the induction cooktop, pot filler, sink, and panelized dishwasher at the back wall and pop-up mixer, trash/compost, and wine fridge in the island. The large format drawers in the base cabinets also provide ample storage along the work aisle to keep pots, tools, and dishes handy.


The relocated dining room is large for its needs and allows ample space for a walk-in pantry off of the kitchen. Open shelving allows for flexible storage options. The custom barn door is painted to match the tall kitchen cabinets and gives easy access while cooking.

Modern pantry with custom barn door and open shelving
View from dining room into modern kitchen


The relocated dining room has a generous opening to the kitchen, making it perfect for entertaining and family gatherings. The large dining table, a custom piece the homeowners have treasured for years, now has ample room around it to make dinner parties more convivial and make fetching a second helping from the kitchen easy.


PROJECT: Full interior renovation of the ground floor of a single-family home in North Andover
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Aurora Architects + Builders
KITCHEN CABINETS: Divine Design Center
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jared Kuzia Photography

Modern kitchen with white backsplash and walnut window trim and open shelving