A Nondescript Kitchen Is Now Colorful, Connected, and Welcoming Thanks to Designer Nicole Cohen

When a 1920s colonial-style beach house in New Jersey needed a kitchen facelift, its owners turned to New York-based interior designer Nicole Cohen. With a background as a multidisciplinary artist, Cohen approaches design through a visual lens that plays with composition, color and form in accessible ways.

Here she found inspiration in the original architecture, including stucco walls and arches, and chose to ‘work’ with the historical features rather than against them. However, “The original kitchen was undersized and in poor condition,” says Cohen, citing the lack of color, non-functional floor plan, and dated Formica finishes. “It didn’t make sense for a young family who wanted to spend a lot of time together in the apartment.”

before photos of the kitchen

Nicole Kohen

Cohen wanted to create a kitchen that would fit easily into the family—without feeling crowded when cooking or entertaining. Working with the team at Monmouth Custom Builders, the designer began an eight-month renovation that included the kitchen, pool, basement and lanai, all combined to create a 4,000-square-foot retreat.

To make the kitchen the true heart of the home, the team opened up the space into an L-shape that connects the dining room, study, and back porch. Now it is filled with color and light.

Stone dining table with banquettesA custom terrazzo dining table grounds the space and is one of Cohen’s “favorite pieces” in the house. It is paired with chairs from Wayfair. A built-in dining area features cushions and cushions made from vintage textiles (the latter are indigo blue and sourced through Etsy). Roman blinds from The Shade Store diffuse the light.Nicole Kohen

Take the star of the show, for example: green Mosaic House floor tiles. “The couple let us know that they share a love for the color green, and we wanted to make sure that that was prominent,” says Cohen. “I found this tile while researching other materials for this project and it felt like a perfect match.”

Custom Castle Woodcraft cabinets, Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances, and a custom terrazzo dining table make the kitchen “feel special,” says Cohen. “In each of the projects I work on, I always try to create a piece of furniture that can live on in the client’s home. With this table, we custom-made the aggregate and the shape.”

Detail of the cabinets

Nicole Kohen

Detail of the lighting

Nicole Kohen

Benjamin Moore’s Simply White opens up the space, Schoolhouse deVOL Kitchens and fixtures create glowing, layered lighting, and Mosaic House floor tiles add personality. “The color makes the space lively and exciting,” she says. “I love how happy the space feels, like the perfect place to eat ripe peaches and homemade pasta.”

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