A Nostalgic Kitchen Where Everything Has Its Place

 Alan and Lorraine Paul’s warm, cottage-style kitchen evokes nostalgic memories of summers on Squam Lake and cooking with family. The mahogany cabinetry—including the stove hood—was designed by Sue Booth, of Vintage Kitchens in Concord. 

From a whimsical cookie jar to an antique farm sink, the historic charm of Alan and Lorraine Paul’s kitchen in their Squam Lake cottage evokes a bygone era. “I wanted the house to look like it’d been on the lake for one hundred years,” Lorraine says.

As the general contractor on her home’s construction, Lorraine had a plan for the kitchen. “Cooking is a big part of my Italian family’s heritage,” she says. “I wanted a kitchen where the family could gather—a big open space, close to the dining room.” Before meeting with her kitchen designer—Sue Booth, of Vintage Kitchens in Concord— Lorraine had identified even the tiniest details. “I planned what was going in every drawer,” she says.

She also wanted guests to be able to access coffee and beverages, or set the table without interfering with the cooking space.

“Lorraine had an amazing vision,” says Booth, who worked closely with Lorraine as well as Paul Bonner, of Bonner Builders in Meredith, to execute Lorraine’s wishes (Lorraine discovered Booth from an ad in New Hampshire Home magazine).

The warm kitchen combines early-twentieth-century cottage style with modern conveniences. Mahogany, glass-fronted upper cabinets ring the kitchen, adding light to the room, with its fir ceiling and wainscoting. The refrigerator and freezer, hidden behind a tall cabinet, are directly across from the magnificent, chocolate-colored range, which features both gas and electric ovens as well as a lower warming oven. The white, subway-tile backsplash visually breaks up the space and adds period detail, as does the farm-style sink (the dishwasher, masked by cabinetry, is next to the sink). A curved cabinet next to the refrigerator provides extra storage. On the soapstone counters sit kitchen tools and memories of Lorraine’s childhood, including her mother’s Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar and her grandmother’s bread rising trough.

Instead of installing a center island, Lorraine found a rustic farm table made from reclaimed wood. “Initially, I thought it didn’t fit with the rest of the kitchen,” Lorraine says, “but the first time I saw my grandkids having fun poking their fingers in the knot holes of the table top, I knew it was special.”

Adjacent to the kitchen, the pantry offers additional room for food preparation and storage, including a small pass-through window to the kitchen (“When we empty the dishwasher in the kitchen, we can pass dishes through into the pantry, then walk around and put them away,” Lorraine says).

Along one wall is a wine refrigerator and double-drawer dishwasher as well as open shelving to display china and glassware.

Lorraine discovered the tall, antique apron-back sink at a salvage store in Vermont and had the piece restored. The wall opposite the sink—with hooks holding Lorraine’s collection of aprons—adds charm and visually opens up the room.

The kitchen perfectly reflects Lorraine’s tastes. “I love that she followed her heart, and the space truly expresses her,” Booth says.

Lorraine agrees: “There’s nothing I’d change. I love being here.”

Left: The pantry, with its vintage feel, provides extra prep space as well as an opportunity to display the family’s well-loved china and glassware.

Right: At the end of the soapstone kitchen counter, sourced in Vermont, a glass-front cabinet contains Lorraine’s collection of cookbooks. A pass-through opening to the pantry makes transferring dishes and other kitchen items back and forth easy.