A Kitchen with a View

Removing a brick wall separating the kitchen from the family room opened the space up to spectacular lake views. The center island features a conveniently placed warming oven.

When Margery Thomas Mueller and Bob Mueller moved to Alton eight years ago, Margery, a professional interior designer and fine artist, knew immediately that she would renovate the 1990s-era home on Lake Winnipesaukee to take advantage of its spectacular lakefront views.

The kitchen renovation—a collaboration with kitchen designer Phillip Hunter, of Fred E. Varney Company, Inc. in Wolfeboro, and Peter Oddi, of Advantage Construction & Painting Contractors in Farmington—has been her most satisfying project to date. By removing a woodstove and brick wall separating the kitchen from the family room, the team created a larger, open space with 180- degree lake views. “You never felt the lake was nearby when you were in the old kitchen because there were no windows overlooking the water,” Margery says. “Now people ask me, ‘When did you put those windows in?’ And I say, ‘They were already here.’“

Margery, a talented cook, had very specific ideas about how she wanted the new kitchen to work (the Muellers enjoy entertaining and planned to use the new kitchen for their annual New Year’s Eve celebration). Margery was a little nervous; it was the first time she had designed a kitchen for herself. She and Hunter laid out every function she wanted the kitchen to have. “Often you have to compromise on your wish list,” Hunter says. “But we didn’t.”

The kitchen’s light gray upper cabinets and darker gray lower cabinets provide visual interest while subtly contrasting with the white LG Viatera quartz countertops and black center island. Opposite the island, which is topped with reclaimed oak, is a row of closed cabinets providing additional storage; the center cabinet doors open to reveal a cleverly concealed bar. A multipurpose drawer underneath holds bar tools; liquor is stored in a deep double drawer. “It’s a great entertainment feature,” Margery says.

Hunter also suggested moving the warming drawer to the island, opposite the double ovens. “It used to be under the ovens,” Margery says. “Now that it’s in the island, it really works for cooking.”

Elsewhere in the space, appliances are positioned for utility: the dishwasher is next to the porcelain farmer’s sink for convenient cleanup; the Sub-Zero refrigerator is next to the double ovens; and a microwave is built in to the island. The cooktop is directly opposite the eating bar for easy socializing with guests and looks straight in to the family room.

There were other delightful results of the kitchen redesign. Margery can now display a beloved collection of pottery on a shelf that connects the glassfronted cabinets over the sink. There’s ample lighting from dimmable LED puck lights. Best of all, the Muellers now enjoy the lake views from their kitchen. “Those unexpected results are wonderful,” Margery says. “That’s what happens when you have a good design and a wellthought- out plan.”


The kitchen design team included from left: kitchen designer Phillip Hunter, of Fred E. Varney Company, Inc. in Wolfeboro; Peter Oddi, of Advantage Construction & Painting Contractors in Farmington; and homeowners Margery Thomas Mueller and Bob Mueller.

The open-concept kitchen designed by homeowner and interior designer Margery Thomas Mueller combines elegance and functionality.

A shelf over the apron-front sink connects the cabinets and displays a collection of Margery’s pottery.

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A Kitchen Collaboration That Works

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