Design & Architecture

Best Luxury Kitchen Remodel, Milton, MA, designed by Boston based Wilson Kelsey Design

Our recent Boston South Shore kitchen remodel in a 100 year old home presented a unique set of challenges to us, due its extremely low ceiling and our client’s desire for a luxury kitchen that conveyed a sense of gracious living.

They desired a kitchen that would be a family center for their children and their children’s friends, a place for them to gather, socialize and do homework.

The parents, themselves, also wanted to be able to relax and entertain their adult friends – while still being able to keep an eye on their active children.

As you can see below in one of our BEFORE photos, we had our work cut out for us.

A *Before* picture of our luxury kitchen remodel in Boston's South Shore for this 100 year old home. Kitchen Design: Wilson Kelsey Design

Their existing kitchen, shown in the floor plan below, was dark and cramped, with that low ceiling, and had main circulation paths in all directions!

*Before* kitchen floor plan in our luxury kitchen remodel on Boston's South Shore. Kitchen Design: Wilson Kelsey Design

In addition to the problematic circulation, the room was walled off from the rest of the house. There was neither a closet nor any storage by the kitchen door.

So, how do you get a WOW kitchen when you are starting with such a problematic set of circumstances? In these two custom renderings we prepared for our client, you can see our solutions.

Custom rendering of our luxury kitchen remodel on Boston's South Shore. Kitchen design: Wilson Kelsey Design

First, we proposed eliminating the wall between the kitchen and the den/family room at the front of the house and the small powder room adjacent to the kitchen door. This solution would:

1. Pour daylight into the space from both sides of the house.
2. Open up their kitchen to accommodate large groups of their friends and their children’s friends.
3. Enable an efficient work triangle, accessible storage and comfortable circulation for a more functional kitchen.

Custom rendering of our luxury kitchen remodel on Boston's South Shore. Kitchen Design: Wilson Kelsey Design

We also proposed opening the wall between the kitchen and the home office, and suggested that their under utilized office become the kids’ recreation area – removed from the kitchen, but accessible.

Here is our AFTER floor plan.

The *After* floor plan for our luxury kitchen remodel on Boston's South Shore in a 100 year old home. Design: Wilson Kelsey DesignOur final design created three distinct zones – a cooks’ area, a space adjacent to the cook’s area for mixing, mingling, homework, etc. and a children’s TV and play area in the former home office.

As you can see in the opening photo above, the transformation was dramatic – no more dark, dreary space!

We created this sense of openness, height and light  [ the ceiling you are seeing here is only 7 feet -8 inches high! ] by eliminating any upper cabinets, and using bright white paints.

A luxury kitchen remodel for a 100 year old Boston South Shore home. Design: Wilson Kelsey Design

As designers, one of our responsibilities is to help our clients achieve the biggest impact for their invested dollars.

By carefully managing the cost of the custom cabinets, appliances and other items – such as the decorative lighting over the island – we were able to invest our client’s saved dollars where it would have the most impact for them.

And in this kitchen, those saved dollars were invested, to give our clients the WOW factor they wanted, in this marble we selected with them for their backsplash & countertop material.

It is a beautiful Vermont Danby marble, and we all considered ourselves lucky the day we saw it and were able to say YES, we’ll take it!

Vermont Danby marble used as countertop and backplash in our Boston luxury kitchen remodel of this 100 year old home. Design: Wilson Kelsey Design

The second splurge was deciding upon a natural walnut for the island countertop. This gives the kitchen distinction, warmth and truly pulls the room together. Now, it is the kitchen’s hub – designed for cooking prep, family dining, doing homework, etc. On weekends, it is the perfect gathering place for friends to hang out.

Perrin and Rowe goose necked faucet, Rohl farmhouse sink. Design: Boston's Wilson Kelsey Design

Refined details make a difference in the day to day use of a kitchen and in its sense of gravitas and elegance.

The goose necked chromed silver Perrin and Rowe faucet and white porcelain apron front Rohl farmhouse sink not only make doing dishes a breeze, but add charm and distinction to this 100 year old Boston Colonial home.

Custom designed dish and plate drawers were designed for ease of accessibility for our client's children. Design: Wilson Kelsey Design/Boston

As we decided on no upper cabinets in the kitchen, drawers were designed with plate and cup organizers, making it easy for young children to help themselves.

A beautiful and space maximizing *Le Mans* corner cabinet shelf system pullout was also used to maximize access to – and usability of – the corner base cabinet. Our contractors love them for their ease of installation.Le Mans corner pull out, used in our Boston South Shore kitchen remodel to maximize space. Kitchen Design: Wilson Kelsey Design

Open kitchen shelves; Wilson Kelsey Design

A combination of open shelving and spice drawers added easy access organization next to our client’s cooktop.

wine storage cabinet; Wilson Kelsey Design

An adult beverage center and wine storage unit is located at the other end of the island near the refrigerator for easy access during parties. Next to this are the floor to ceiling 24″ wide extra deep pantries we designed for additional storage.

Notice the custom designed wrought iron railing above the wine storage center?  Using that open railing, rather than a half wall,  when we opened up the wall between the existing kitchen and the underused home office, allowed us to create visibility for parental monitoring, while creating the perfect place for the kids to feel they had a *place of their own* to hang out with their friends, play video games and watch TV.

We designed a custom soffit for the outside exhaust, since we could not use a traditional range hood due to the low ceilings. Design: Wilson Kelsey Design/Boston

Sooner or later, every renovation has its challenges and the biggest challenge with this one was finding an outside exhaust range hood that would work to ventilate the stovetop, considering the low height of the ceiling.

Most external exhausts vent out the top and need at least 2 feet of clearance above them before the exhaust duct can be run horizontally to the outside of the house.

In our case, that meant the horizontal duct would have been running through two closets on the second floor – which wasn’t practical for our client- and the other obvious solution: to run a vertical exhaust through the second floor, attic and roof, would have cost an additional $8,000.

Fortunately, we solved this challenge by finding an exhaust that was designed to vent directly out its side, enabling us to run the exhaust through a soffit [ dropped ceiling ] we designed for this purpose, placed just under the second floor framing. A very clean look, and mission accomplished!


Our client tells us this new kitchen renovation has transformed the way their family lives.

They now spend more time together after school, around dinner time and on weekends. When the boys have friends over, rather than retreating to the basement, they head straight for the kids’ room off the kitchen, right where an adult can keep a watchful eye on them.

They are thrilled!

We designed a custom wine storage unit in our Boston South Shore luxury kitchen remodel. Kitchen Design: Wilson Kelsey Design

And you should see the parties…

Sally and John; Wilson Kelsey Design

Thank you for reading Design Cognoscenti! If we can help you in any way with the remodel of your own kitchen or home, we invite you to please contact us by clicking on this link:

We also invite you to follow us in the following places:


Sally and I frequently receive calls from home owners who tell us they have purchased a newer home based on location, school system and or look of the home’s exterior, etc., but they don’t like the interior architectural detailing and decor. As one client related, “The interior has no gravitas.” And they ask us, “Can you help us upgrade the design of the interior architectural detailing, hardware, decorative lighting and decor?” We, of course, say yes.

Presently, Sally is working on a project on the North Shore of Boston in which she is helping a client undertake a phased major cosmetic overhaul of a newer Colonial Style home, converting it to the look and feel of a French Country estate. The project has been broken down by phase based on looking at logical architectural breaks and transitions, the client’s travel plans and what they intend to invest on an annual basis in the house.

The first phase was the renovation of a small foyer and powder room. Originally designed around a masculine “hunt club” theme, Sally and our client collaborated to create a gracious welcoming experience for owner and house guests. The very awkward powder room was expanded and reconfigured.

Here we see the existing conditions. Dark wood, dark paint and cramped dysfunctional powder room.

foyer existing conditions

Note the inexpensive door hardware, six panel colonial style doors and hunt scene drapery…

foyer existing conditions

powder room existing conditions

The powder room was expanded by eliminating a closet. New two panel doors and crown molding were selected. The bi-fold doors were replaced with flat panel doors to be covered with wall paper. The entry is on the right. The door on the left leads to the kitchen.

Existing Conditionsproposed floor plan, Wilson Kelsey Design

In order to create the desired French style our client was asking for, Sally worked with our friends from Zoe Design to create a custom chinoiserie wallpaper for the foyer, including covering the bi-fold doors concealing of the washer/dryer. (BTW: Zoe Design’s new website is Inspiring!!!)

Zoe Design chinoiserie wallpaper

In the powder room an antique mirror feature wall, custom hand painted vanity, marble vanity top and mirror were proposed.

proposed French Style powder room elevation, Wilson Kelsey Design

vanity sink base, Wilson Kelsey Design

Door hardware, powder room faucet set, vanity mirror and lighting throughout were thought of as jewelry a woman might wear when she attends a cocktail party – that final touch pulling everything together.

Mudroom style board, Wilson Kelsey Design

door hardware, Wilson Kelsey Design

For the floor, collaborating with Zoe Design, Sally and our client designed a grid with a fleur-de-lis at each intersection.

Floor & Mural by Zoe Design; Design by WIlson Kelsey Design


When the work was completed, the new foyer looked like this! Fresh, welcoming, and inviting. Love the tufted upholstered wall!

Mudroom:Foyer; Wilson Kelsey Design

Mudroom/Foyer; Wilson Kelsey Design

The powder room became a little jewel, fit for a queen!

French Style Powder Room; Wilson Kelsey Design


Sally recently produced a short video describing the renovation of the foyer/power room in more detail, which can be seen here.

Every home has a story. What’s your?

John Kelsey, Wilson Kelsey Design

Please contact us here.

To visit our website, click here.

To follow us on Facebook, click here.

To follow us on Pinterest, click here.

Spring is in the air, and for those of us in Boston, we have been long awaiting it! Spring always brings to mind Paris, as that is when the city is at its loveliest. As it so happens, John and I will be celebrating Paris in Spring when we host, tonight, our French Soiree, with our event partner Woodmeister Master Builders. (I know it has been a long time since you’ve heard directly from me, Sally, in these blog posts. But here I am.)

Vaux le Vicomte

Our illustrated talk with be on the classic elements of French design, and how to achieve that essence in your own home. When John and I visited Paris twice last year, we went with the intention of carefully studying all the little details of French architecture and interiors. John came away with thousands of photos that we have studied. We then formulated our theory of what makes a French interior unique.

We know we have a big turnout for tonight’s event, so many of you will be participating in finding out what those unique differences are.

Woodmeister and we have planned this event to be not only instructional, but a fun and sensory experience of French Culture. We’ve assembled a small movie, of period French songs and images of Paris and French gardens and food.


Petite Trianon; photo John Kelsey

Paris food; photo john Kelsey

The catering will be a pairing of French food, from La Voile Restaurant, and French wines from BRIX. The colors will be a celebration of the 3 colors of the French flag – blue, white, red.


à bientôt…


Every home has a story. We’d love to help you tell yours. Please contact us here.

To visit our website, click here.

To follow us on Facebook, click here.

To follow us on Pinterest, click here.