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A New Kitchen Designed to Harmonize with a Vintage Pantry

Updated vintage pantry by Jess Cooney Interiors. Lisa Vollmer photo.

The house came with sun-washed rooms, original windows and wainscotting—and a recent history of being nearly condemned. What made Jacque Ivory and her husband, Chris, want to move in was a backroom relic: a preserved walk-in pantry with floor-to-ceiling fir shelves and cabinets. “It felt like a miracle that nobody had every painted all that woodwork,” she say. Located in the Southern Berkshires town of Sheffield, Massachusetts, near where Chris grew up, the 1890 structure was an inn for several decades before being converted into a doctor’s office with upstairs apartments, which devolved into a single-family house in dire need of help.

Jacque and Chris bought the property in 2017 from the developer who had swooped in and bought it at auction. With visions of restoring and re-creating what was, the couple called in interior design Jess Cooney, a friend of Jacque’s who runs her own busy Berkshires interior design firm known for its historic resuscitations. Having moved all over the world for Jacque’s work in telecommunications, the two know how to quickly set up a home. First on the list of things to tackle: the kitchen, which had, says Jacque, “floating appliances, no counter space, seven doors (it was originally the screened porch), and really no redeeming features.”

She and Chris asked Jess and team for an all-new setup that “looked as if it had always there.” “The challenge,” says Jess, “was to balance modern functionality with a historied aesthetic and relevance to the rest of the house.” Join us for a look at the results—and scroll down to see the preserved, newly wallpapered pantry.

Photography by Lisa Vollmer, courtesy of Jess Cooney Interiors.

Great Barrington kitchen remodel by Jess Cooney-Interiors. Lisa Vollmer photo.-1
Above: The new kitchen occupies the footprint of the original: the stove stands where the back entry had been (now replaced by an adjacent mudroom). The cabinetry was custom built by local furniture maker Erik O.F. Schutz who, Jacque says, “knew this house as a kid and was excited to be part of its restoration.”

Jacque and Chris have two grown children; they added mastiff, Teddy, to the family during the design process—which is when Jess suggested going with a floor of tumbled limestone from Ann Sacks. “I had wanted wood,” Jacque says, “but I’m so glad we listened to Jess. Limestone cleans up so easily, and with a 220-pound dog, wood would have been instantly gouged and scratched.”

Modern-traditional kitchen remodel in Great Barrington, MA, by Jess Cooney-Interiors. Lisa Vollmer photo.
Above: Project manager Lauren Cresswell, who served with Jess, lead designer, is shown here at the Shaws Fireclay sink. The bridge faucet is deVol’s Aged Brass Ionian Tap. Designed to serve as a work table that will get better with age, the island is made of Douglas fir remnants from a local maker of musical instruments; it’s stained to match the wood in the pantry and fitted with a microwave and deep drawers for pots and pans.
Paneled fridge in modern-traditional kitchen remodel in Great Barrington, MA, by Jess Cooney-Interiors. Lisa Vollmer photo.
Above: In response to Jacque’s request for an open place to store everyday things, the designers created this niche next to the paneled fridge. The arch echoes the shape of the cabinet directly across the room. The Ascendra Pulls in Sable are from Top Knobs. The cabinets and walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s China White.
Modern-traditional kitchen remodel in Great Barrington, MA, by Jess Cooney-Interiors. Lisa Vollmer photo.
Above: The twin arched cabinets “follow the lines of an original built-in hutch in the dining room,” says Jess. Like the island, they’re made of salvaged Douglas fir and are fitted with old-fashioned oil-rubbed bronze Cremone Bolts from Signature Hardware. The range is a 48-inch Wolf.  The island top, counters, and backsplash are honed Imperial Danby marble. The adjacent cabinets are part of the mud room.
Updated vintage pantry by Jess Cooney Interiors. Lisa Vollmer photo.
Above: The designers used the pantry’s Douglas fir built-ins as inspiration for the kitchen cabinets (and unnoticeably stole space from the outsized storage room to create  a powder room). They spiffed up the walls with Secret Garden, a botanical wallpaper from Cole & Son and a brass sconce from Visual Comfort.
Updated vintage pantry in Great Barrington, MA, by Jess Cooney Interiors. Lisa Vollmer photo.
Above: Jacque and Chris have the perfect place for their grandmothers’ china, which they regularly put to use. Their pasta makers and other small appliances are squirreled away in the cabinets.
Updated vintage pantry by Jess Cooney Interiors. Lisa Vollmer photo.
Above: The breakfast table has a pantry view. Jacque reports that the project was such a fulfilling experience that she wanted to “continue to be around the design process.” After many years of raising her kids, she’s now the Jess Cooney Interiors office assistant in charge of organizing and overseeing installations.

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