Twenty-five years ago Elisabeth Byram and her husband, Jim, built on to their house, creating a brand-new kitchen and keeping room with more space to entertain. To this day their design choices have proven to be timeless.
Jim and Elisabeth Byram love to entertain. They find joy in hosting church groups and community social gatherings in their home. When they first moved into their charming cottage, Elisabeth says the original kitchen space was probably a 10×10-foot square, and while it didn’t deter them from enjoying social engagements it did prompt them to add more space. “We wanted our home to be used,” Elisabeth says.
The Byrams hired architect Phillip Sides who drew them a brand-new space to add on to the house. That new space became a combined kitchen and family room, and the original kitchen became the butler’s pantry and laundry room, (seen right.) The new kitchen’s open floor plan was perfect for the Byrams because they could have their meetings and social gatherings in the keeping room while preparing food and drinks in the kitchen, and they could all be in the same room together.
“It’s funny,” Elisabeth says, the area where the original kitchen was is still the favorite room for guests to mingle and make their drinks. “It doesn’t matter how big the house is, they’re just going to congregate in small spaces where people can be close to each other and have conversations. People do not mind rubbing shoulders with one another!”
To aid in her entertaining, Elisabeth chose a big kitchen island so she could have a place to serve as well as prepare food. For its design she selected a warm granite top, which purposefully contrasted with her white Corian countertops. “I like having the white part around the cooktop and the sink because I’m messy, and I like being able to see the dirt,” she says. “I wanted the island to be darker on the top because I felt like that was dressier. That became more like a tabletop.” The backsplash is home to a mix of buff-colored limestone and terra-cotta-colored tumbled marble.
One of the most charming things about the Byrams’ kitchen is the Dutch door that opens to the patio. “At the time, my child was young, so I could use that door halfway open and look out on the patio and watch him play. And he could walk up to the door and get popsicles and juice boxes,” Elisabeth recalls. “I just love the idea and charm of the Dutch door.”
This Old-World-style kitchen with touches of French and English influence makes a delightful space for entertaining and living. “We say all the time: The only room we needed was that room, a bathroom, and a bedroom, and we would have been satisfied!”
Style Idea: As owner of the antiques shop Cottage Collections, Elisabeth has a love for things with a history and a story. She has been collecting majolica pieces for more than 35 years and artfully displays her plates throughout the kitchen.
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