Brandy and Mike Williams welcome winter with a fresh white kitchen and a view of the Kennebecasis River in Rothesay, N.B.
I played competitive basketball growing up. As a young girl, I remember looking around at my teammates and opponents, thinking: “I wonder what we’ll all be doing as grown-ups? Who will get married and what kind of jobs will they have?” The curse of being an inquisitive child, dying to grow up instead of enjoying the simplicity of life as a teenager. When Williams reached out, I knew her name and face instantly. I had played against her several times in high school and then university and often had to guard her as we both played point guard.
When Brandy opened her door to her quintessential, classic old Rothesay home in November of 2020, I thought, “Ah, this is where you landed.” She’s married to a wonderful guy named Mike, with an oversized Golden Doodle named Cooper flailing around the house like a dervish. The first thing Brandy shared about her reno vision was the ultimate desire to have a fresh white kitchen. When she walked me into the existing kitchen, the words fell out faster than I had anticipated: “Well, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
They had recently moved in, and were using the open space off the kitchen as their main living room and as a small dining area. Immediately I knew we had to re-route the living room. There was a large room to the left of the entry way equipped with a working fireplace and plenty of space for a true living room independent from the kitchen. We would use the open space off the kitchen as kitchen dining only and blow out a pesky wall that was destined to give us a lot of trouble.
Not only was it a weight-bearing wall, but the supporting beam was thick and brought that portion of the ceiling down an extra foot. It ran from one side of the room to the other, before the ceiling exploded upwards to an atrium in the dining space.
We enlisted Select Kitchens, a local kitchen design group, to tackle the project. From there, Brandy’s husband Mike, and his family were prepared to do the work themselves on the demo and install. We were unsure of what they would find when they knocked down that centre wall and pulled out an old brick fireplace running up through the main corner of the kitchen, that we were going to need for counter space.
Brandy and I pored over light fixtures, cabinet styles, samples of quartz and hardware. We both decided that the light fixtures were going to be where we invested a good portion of the budget. She wanted to keep her mid-century feel in the dining room, while also tying in a very traditional looking kitchen that was clean and current but still upheld the character of the house.
The couple had a custom built, live-edge wood dining table that would span across the back wall of windows looking out to the Kennebecasis River. No longer were they jammed into a corner to eat while looking
onto their living room.
I wanted to add a large, linear light that was open and airy so that it didn’t obstruct their view to the water in any way. The finish had to be an antiqued brass to pull in a traditional feel that would carry on into the hardware and fixtures in the kitchen. We added custom fabric green chairs and a natural-coloured jute rug, that would be tough enough to vacuum and stand up to Cooper’s chewing. Bringing the outside in was crucial in this space, while also completely opening it up to let the view of the water be the focal point.
From there, we oriented the kitchen so that the chef was always looking out to the water. We added decorative columns on each side of the new, oversized island to support the beam running across the ceiling. Given that it ran through the island where normally pendent lights would go, we decided to capitalize on our columns and add large sconces on the inside of each one.
From there, it was all in the details. We found traditional brass pulls and knobs for the cabinetry hardware and added five more light fixtures in the space. A custom, wood range-hood and floating shelves opened up the wall of cabinetry. As much as I tried to sneak in some colour, Brandy kept true to her word on wanting a fresh, white kitchen and I’m glad she did because it turned out to be beautiful.
I no longer had to wonder where Brandy landed. I’m glad our past brought me into her future and that our shared love of basketball was replaced with a shared appreciation for home design, except this time around, we were finally on the same team.