An Exquisite Kitchen Restoration Has Charm To Burn

Too funny. I was working on a post about brick and stone fireplaces when I checked my email.

And I had three emails from Nancy Keyes, my new best friend who if it was 20 years ago, maybe we would’ve gone into business together!?

If you missed it, here’s the post where I began talking about her giga-gorgeous kitchen restoration.

Not only did I have a slew of new photos, she gave me the other day, the formula for THE beautiful gray cabinets.

uh huh.

It’s the color that she had custom mixed at her Benjamin Moore Store. I didn’t ask her for this.

I repeat. She GAVE me the formula!

And now, I know what it is. :]

Alright, all right… calm down!

It’s just paint. ;]

Yeesh! Aren’t you guys exhausted from shopping? Guess not.

Laurel, just STFU and tell us what it is!

Okay. Sorry. You know I’m just teasing.

I made a little graphic with the formula.

Here it is!


And yes, you have permission to pin it!


Goodnight. haha I’m not really leaving just yet.

Hey, I’m excited too! I mean really excited! Because as I said, Nancy also sent me a whole mess of photos of her new home. Mostly the gorgeous kitchen restoration, remodel, renovation. (But they did a real number on the entire place!)

It’s all beautifully accessorized now.

Nancy told me that when friends come over while standing in this gorgeous #unkitchen, they want to know which way the kitchen is. Too funny.

nancy-keyes-kitchen restoration

Here we can see the chandelier inspired by Jean-Louis Deniot

nancy-keyes-kitchen restoration-range

A little closer in.

Nancy inherited much from her mother and grandmother. And she’s also a flea market hound.

I love everything. I want it all!

nancy-keyes-kitchen- restoration-range-accessories

LOVE the range area!


Every detail makes my heart sing. Sorry if that sounds sappy and trite.

And those lamps!


Now THAT is a collection!


Nancy had this drawer customized down to the last quarter-inch. That’s a designer!


I have no idea what those curly things are, but I love them! And I love the prints in the vestibule.

I think that is four loves now. :]

nancy-keyes-skirted-bar-area kitchen restoration

How cool is this little tucked-away bar area with a lovely linen skirt. And I adore that the radiator was left untouched except for a coat of fresh paint.



By The Way, if you didn’t catch it before, the walls are Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White. Speaking of which. It is clear to me that the moulding and walls are the same color, which I love and recommend.


Looking in from the library.

Too, too pretty!

I do have more. But I’m going to save it for next time.

Thank you so much Nancy– for your generosity and sharing your exquisite home with us!




I heard from Nancy who is so thrilled to see her home here. That makes all of us! And she had a lot more to say that I think y’all will find interesting. Here it is:

So my follow ups to the uber flattering blog this AM. Forgot to tell you that the tongue and groove ceiling is painted paper white. I know that is one of your colors, too. I have used it before even in interim house in the Atlanta home.
The curly things are baffles from a mid-century industrial light fixture. I saw them in a box at Don Scott’s Antique Show (Bunny, John and Furlow shopped there each month)… the one thing I desperately miss about ATL. The dealer had just sold the fixture but the buyer didn’t want the baffles. I asked how much…he said $1 each. A friend was with me and he said I’d like them better for $5 for all of them…So he said OK. So the prominent wall in the room is dressed for 5 bucks. They were in the dining room in Atlanta as a frieze.
Marc found the pieces behind the stove in a shop in Red Bank. They were fireplace inserts from a 1900 house that was sadly torn down a mile or so from here. They are black iron and we had the iron shelf made to cover the seam.
The bar is over the washer and dryer. The 4 four watercolor paintings were in a portfolio that a friend bought for $5 for all and gave me as a house warming gift for our lake house.
Thank you again for everything!!!!





PS: Jennifer had a question about the backsplash and this is what Nancy and her wonderful contractor came up with. Have to say that I absolutely love this treatment with the wood trim!

101 Responses

  1. Did someone make your kitchen worktable/island for you? If so, would you mind sharing your source? This kitchen has inspired my own kitchen renovation. Thanks for being so generous with your pictures and remarks!

  2. What a beautiful post-I think I was thunderstruck when I realized whose home you featured!It just doesn’t get any better than Maura’s and Nancy Keyes swoon worthy homes, and that we at least all live in NJ. is lovely too. 🙂 Coincidentally, a few weeks ago my sister made me sign up on instagram because she was so totally smitten with Maura’s home, and she knew I would be too.She was soo right!
    Thank you for all the work you put into this wonderful blog..

    1. Hi Dolores,

      Oh yes, that’s right! You’re in Jersey too! Well, I really need to rethink things here. :]

      I was just looking at the real estate listings in my area again. 95% are too awful for words!

    2. Laurel- I forgot to mention that I so covet Nancy’s built in library with that gorgeous ceiling!
      Now I’ll go and hunt Nancy down on instagram..:-)

        1. At least Nancy is on Pinterest- and I see that we share a love for red poodles. 🙂 Unfortunately, my own beloved red standard poodle Harley had to go over the rainbow bridge this year. Interestingly, my other two standard poodles looked everywhere for her, and all through the house, but neither one would go near her bed that was so desirable a place when Harley was still with us.

        2. Hi Dolores,

          Yes! She is and she has a great account! Her Lily is adorable!

          I’m so sorry that you lost your sweet baby and it sounds like your other doggies are mourning the loss too. I miss my Peaches so much.

  3. the round bulls-eye things are the insert form for checkerboard cakes you put it in the pan, pour alternating batters, remove, do it 2 times same way and once the opposite and when you layer them and cut into the cake it looks like a checkerboard.

  4. I noticed that your friend Nancy has a painted radiator. I’m renovating a Parisian (Hausmannian bldg built in 1908) that has very decorative radiators. What is your opinion — should I paint them in the wall color or go back to original silver metallic?

    1. I’m sorry Mary, I wish I could voice an opinion, but I’m working blind here.

      It could also be a burnished bronze or burnished gold. (antiqued) If it’s a metallic color, please don’t just spray paint it a flat color. That will look cheap and horrible, IMO.

      I would research this one and from there, perhaps you’ll get a better idea of what looks good to your eye. A lot has to do with the color of the walls and the furnishings.

  5. Laurel
    This is a great kitchen, but I’m more interested in the outdoor light fixture beside the front door….do you have clues about the source? I have cedar siding and dont want to cut into to hang new fixtures. These are the right style and look as if they won’t need chunks of siding cut out to hang them.
    Or maybe you could recommend lighting sources on-line that have some like these.
    Thanks for any help or suggestions.
    I love your blog and appreciate that so many people will let us into their homes to see their beautiful rooms. Thanks for doing this for us.

    1. Hi MJ,

      Sorry I missed your comment. I try to answer in order but somehow this one escaped me. The photo of the exterior door was just something I found online for the graphic. I have no idea where it’s from. I would do a search of exterior light fixtures.

  6. haha – I have two of those pictures by the range, same frames. I’m not using them right now and had forgotten about them – maybe I’ll have to resurrect them. I also collect dishes.

    It’s all so much pretty…very talented.

  7. Love the “unkitchen” look and looking to do it in my home! I read your post regarding backsplashs and having a minimal 3″ lip on the wall (love devol!). However I noticed this kitchen has nothing (minus behind the range). My question, if there is no backslash whatsoever, how do you finish/seal where the countertop meets the wall? Is there nothing…? Haha do you just hope no one spills?

    1. It can be caulked and then painted. If done well, you will not see the seam but it protects the wall (especially in an older house that has settled.)I do like the trim Nancy used better, I think. Will be stealing that idea!

      1. Hi Ann,

        Yeah, I realize that mine is calked too (my apartment came without a backsplash) but it’s starting to get a little grody, but just by the sink. However, my whole kitchen needs to be repainted. I adore what Nancy did!

  8. I love this kitchen. So many good ideas. I love the kettles below on the open shelves but would be afraid that my cats would think I planned that for them.

    Not much was said about the custom shade of gray but I love it and I am not a fan of gray. Laurel, would you say that it has bluish or lavender undertones? Looks that way on my computer. Also, could it be used with shades of lavender?

    Love your blog Laurel. Thanks.

    1. Hi Ahrisha,

      The paint is a custom Benjamin Moore color. And the formula is in the graphic at the top of the page!

      As for undertones. Great question and also very interesting to me. It was custom-made to go perfectly with the stainless steel. It is definitely not purple-ish or blue-ish.

      I can say with a fair amount of confidence that you are looking on a PC. I used to use a PC and didn’t realize until I got my mac two years ago that the PC puts a blue-ish cast on everything. Everything looked very yellow on my mac. But the mac is far more accurate!

      The photos are color corrected. They were more blue and lavender when I got them as they were most likely straight out of the camera. All photos out of the camera need editing! But most people who are not professional photographers, don’t realize that. And even a lot of pro photographers don’t bother.

      I know now, that if a photo is reading at all blueish, pinkish, purpleish on my mac that means it needs to be fixed. I know that Nancy did not paint her trim lavender. It’s decorator’s white. And that is a cool white, but it is not purple. (except sometimes in darker rooms when on the ceiling)

      Since it’s not my kitchen, I can’t say if the color changes and reads ever so slightly one way or the other. Most colors do including gray colors.

      Nancy is reading these comments (I think) and if she sees this, perhaps can weigh in.

      I am not a huge fan of dark gray and lavender. Sure, a shot of it in an orchid or something like that, but as a wall color, no.

      1. Hi Laurel and Ahrisha,
        The grey does change some during different times of the day but I don’t see any blue in it at any time. If I forced myself to see any undertone it would be brown. That makes sense because some Stainless has a slight brown undertone. Still I would call it a true grey. Thanks! Hope that helps!

        1. Thanks so much for that Nancy! And again, this is the reason that I don’t do online paint consultations. It’s just not possible to get a true reading through a computer monitor!

  9. Drooling.

    What is the black “backsplash” behind the stove? Embossed metal? Antique? Hard to clean?

    Thanks for sharing with us Nancy!

    1. Hi Marsha,
      They are antique iron fireplace inserts. Oddly enough they don’t get dirty at all. I think the steam that goes up from the stove vent “cleans” them. Thank you!

  10. Oh Laurel, the graphic you made for Keyes Grey is so elegant and chic! (There’s probably a way to create/sell/monetize them, too! ) Wonderful!

  11. I would like to know if Nancy has an Instagram account I can follow, or is she on Pinterest? I checked Pinterest, but was not successful. Thank you Laurel and Nancy.

  12. I have pinned every single photo from this post. Now, do we really have to wait a week to she more photos of this woman’s talent? Probably best if I do as I’m so excited about the ones I have seen here that I will need a week to calm down. For me it’s all about the atmosphere that was created in this kitchen.

  13. I love the intimate bar area that doubles as a laundry room. How practical, ingenious and creative, all at the same time!


  14. Thanks so much Nancy for sharing your beautiful custom color with Laurel and us. I’m glad you will have more photos for us, Laurel. Your commentary is wonderful. Nancy’s home(s) are so full of flair and panache. They look so comfortable and make wonderful use of family and collected items. It’s all so pleasing.
    If Nancy chooses to follow up…the kitchen windows – are they operable? Original? Are there screens or storms that used – not in the photo? Wood or metal? They look wonderful.
    Also, the beautiful garage and landscaping. Did you plant the hydrangea, how old are they? Could the be “Annabelle” or “Limelight”? The boxwood is gorgeous. Thank you Laurel and Nancy for this ‘collaboration’.

    1. Hi Libby,

      All great questions! I’m not 100% sure. If I had to guess, I’d say that the window muntins are wood, only because I can see a thin strip of white on the angle window which would be the exterior color. I love the black though and think it adds a lot of depth and style!

    2. Hi Libby,
      Thank you so much! The windows are new, true divided light single pane wood. The two on the ends do operate. We knew we wouldn’t open the others so they are fixed. No screens. I don’t have screens on any of the windows.
      The hydrangeas are Incrediball, which are the “new and improved” Annebelles, not supposed to flop! But they did flop! They were planted last November.

  15. Hi Laurel,

    Do you know if the industrial chandelier inspired by Jean Louis-Denoit is able to be purchased? I have a client who has fallen in love with that lighting fixture.. Any info you can give me that would help me in my search would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Julie Van Dusen

    1. Hi Julie,
      Thank you so much for the comment! My husband and I made the fixture. We have never wired more than a lamp so it was a real learning experience! It is made from iron plumbing parts, that I wrapped in papier mache, then coated with homemade gesso made with paint, baby powder and sand. I ordered the bobeches on line. It was a long cold winter project!

    2. Hi Julie,
      This may be too late and perhaps not quite the look your client is after but I’ve just come across something you may be interested in. I am a Lighting Specialist with the ALA and was just perusing the new releases from several of the lighting suppliers whose lines I specify. Savoy House has a new chandelier, the Piper, which is very reminiscent of the Jean- Louis Deniot fixture that the very talented Nancy Keyes used as inspiration for her fixture.
      I hope this might be of some help.
      Funny – I always thought my first post on this site would be
      a Fan Girl letter to Laurel! ;p

  16. Sorry – one more question. For the backsplash, was the molding applied directly the the drywall or was there a panel applied first?

      1. Merry Christmas to everyone from rainy Vancouver Island! I have spent Boxing Day (that’s a Canadian Holiday on Dec. 26th) lazing with my laptop and my neighbour’s cat. Mr. Kitty likes to visit so I get all the cat love with none of the responsibility. As I plan my kitchen I have to admit that I am shamelessly copying many of Nancy’s features. I’m still curious if the backsplash had a panel behind the moulding. I would not be surprised if the flood of inquiries that Nancy’s fabulousness unleashed sent her running! But if she is so inclined, I’d love to know. Wishing everyone a happy 2017 surrounded by love and beauty.

        1. Hi Gail,

          Happy Boxing Day! My ex-laws are expat South Africans living in Toronto, so I’m familiar with that one.

          Nancy is definitely around and I know that she’ll be very flattered that you are using her kitchen for inspiration!

          Do you mean a panel of wood as opposed to a moulding applied to the wall itself? That’s a very good question. I’m not sure.

        2. Hi Gail,
          We just went through all of the photos because we actually couldn’t remember! The moulding was applied directly to the sheetrock. You can’t tell by looking at it because it was hand painted instead of rolled like the upper part of the wall, so it appears to be wood.
          Hope that helps!

        3. Thanks so much Nancy for confirming that. So much simpler and affordable than tile and I like it as much or better.

  17. Dear Nancy and Laurel,
    Simply Spectacular! My husband and I are doing a DIY complete gut reno on a 1911 house on a pauper’s budget. I’ve been struggling with the kitchen design, but after looking at your pictures I had several Ah-ha moments. I’ve been drawing away this morning (something I don’t do well!). A couple of questions… Where is that fabulous china collection housed? I didn’t see the hutch in the kitchen. Do you have a microwave and, if so, how have you managed to conceal it so well? Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us and for the colour recipe (notice the Canadian spelling there ;).

    1. Hi Gail,

      Valerie asked that question too and I forgot to answer it. It is a pantry and there is a cool door with a cross that’s original to the house there. I cropped it so that we could see the china better. I’m not sure of the exact location, however.

    2. Hi Again! Thank you so much!
      There are 2 pantries. If you look at the picture looking into the kitchen with the bookcases…they are on the other side of the bookcases. We are lucky in our 1910 house to have a basement where we have another pantry to store chafing dishes and things that you use once a year. The other side has food and everyday dishes.
      We don’t have a microwave. I put a shelf in the pantry for one and decided I didn’t want one.
      Good luck with yours!

      1. Thanks. The question was really about storage. Like Valerie I’ve been wondering “Can I get away with no uppers?” The stairs to the second floor back onto the kitchen so I can build a pantry in the dead space underneath. We’ve closed off the bsmnt to put in a suite but I’ll have a mud room for occasional items. I also have a built-in hutch in the dining room that is original to the house. There – I think I’ve convinced myself. Thanks again for the inspiration. Someday I’ll send the before and after pictures of mine – but I’m a loooong way off!

  18. Such a lovely kitchen. Something no one seems to talk about with the new trend of kitchens without upper cabinets is where do all the things that were stored in them go? I have a hard time imagining all the contents of the uppers being stuffed into bottom cabinets. Can someone please enlighten me? One of the pictures shows an open cabinet with china in it, but I don’t see it in the kitchen. Thanks!

    1. Hi Valerie,

      That’s a very good question. One can actually have MORE storage with floor to ceiling cabinets and pantries. A pantry does not need to be deep to have a ton of storage.

    2. Thanks so much, Valerie,
      There are 2 pantries. If you look at the picture looking into the kitchen with the bookcases…they are on the other side of the bookcases. We are lucky in our 1910 house to have a basement where we have another pantry to store chafing dishes and things that you use once a year. The other side has food and everyday dishes.
      Also, the cart a lot of stuff stored on it.

    1. They are Delonghi K Mix. Great looking, good coffee, steel not plastic but some problems. They do not get great reviews. I think they have been discontinued. We are always on a search for 2 pots that can go side by side!

        1. Thanks, Nancy. Love the collected look of your home. And Laurel, I enjoy reading your blog from northern Indiana.

  19. ooh- Do I get to be the first to post here before I run off to church today? (I better hurry up, as I am sure this beautiful kitchen will inspire many comments.) I love how the kitchen mixes the historic feel of her house and the contemporary so seamlessly. I love all the vintage prints and all the vintage and antique pieces. I love how she was brave enough to use her silver pitchers to hold utensils with out worrying about tarnish and damage! What an awesome idea to utilize something so beautiful everyday, instead of locking it away in a china cabinet. I will have to bring mine out and try it–though I don’t know if I could pull off the look quite like she does, ha, ha! I want to go back and study the details. This is making me appreciate antiques again! (I love how she kept her cat bowl in the photo, too! So realistic, ha, ha! Mine are on the bay windowsill to keep the dog away,LOL!)
    I am so excited to read that you are working on that brick fireplace post, Laurel. Can’t wait to read your opinion and suggestions, etc.
    It was nice to see your blog mentioned yesterday over on Maria Killam’s blog post about painted brick. Two of my favorite design bloggers together on one post, woo-hoo, LOL!
    Thanks again for such great eye candy!

    1. Hi Phyllis,

      Nope, not the first as you can see now, but no matter. I answer everyone in order and unfortunately, have had to put on the comment moderation. Wish I didn’t have to, but every once in a while, I get someone who feels it’s their place to criticize in an nonconstructive way, either me or a reader. And we can’t have that!

      And yes, I saw the comment too on Maria’s blog. And lucky me, it is in the top position and has sent over a ton of blog readers!

      Awwww kitty bowl. It’s been two years since my darling Peaches passed. And no, I can’t get another cat. It’s too painful.

      1. I’m with Phyllis! Love the gray and how lucky we get the formula too! And waiting with bated breathe for the brick/stone fireplace post!!

        And to know where she got those fab coffee machines!!!

      2. Hi Laurel,
        Sorry about Peaches…The bowl is Lily’s, my Red Miniature Poodle. It is her water bowl…Hmmm she refuses to eat in the kitchen. If I put her food in there she carries it to the keeping room. So she is served in there…Whatever makes her happy!

  20. You and Tina Adams Wardrobe Consulting are my two favorite blogs. I mean by a mile. You should check out her blog. She’s based in Nashville and she is to clothing what you are to decorating. I don’t know how I ever survived without either one of you!😍😍😍😍

  21. Hi Laurel:) This kitchen is gorgeous from head to toe(can you say that about a kitchen?) Exclusive. Love the gray plus a bit of wood..color plus wood always makes me giddy. Everything’s amazing-from the backsplash to the orchid in that gorgeous pot..I start being into chinoiseirie-I hold you guilty for that:)
    We also have custom color in our new kitchen-but it’s lacquer..they have their own formulas..they can emulate every color but do it differently? anyway..this formula seems being lacquer too. Am I correct?
    and only now I notice lol-my formula starts with Jenny..:) original mind!

    Thank you so much for sharing, both Nancy and you!

    1. Hi Jenny,

      If I can have sex with this kitchen (please see the previous post), you can say head to toe. lol

      Lacquer is a different animal than straight paint. I should do a post about that. Oh man, she told me the finish. I think that it’s satin on the cabinets. Yes, pretty sure about that and rolled and then back brushed which is just what it sounds like.

  22. I love the collection of vintage dishes. I am a “dish-nut” myself but I won’t tell you my favorite vintage pattern because I don’t want everyone to run out and buy it. I can spend all day on the Replacements website looking at all the pretty dishes.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      It is! I wish I had some now. My grandmother’s went to my cousins but let’s not go there. lol and my mom’s, either my sister has it or it was given away. Mom is still with us, but in assisted living now.

  23. I like that kitchen very much, I hate upper cabinets now and feel like the walls are closing in on me.

    I’m not sure, but I think those round things on the wall are cherckerboard cake pan inserts.

  24. Nancy’s kitchen is too good. Ms Keyes is giving Nancy Meyers a run for her money. (Something’s Gotta Give kitchen).

    I hope you still plan on doing a post about brick & stone fireplaces. I want to replace my dated tiled fireplace with brick. I’m trying to create a classic look. I don’t want to worry about it becoming dated like my tile did.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Yes, indeed! I was swooning in the aisle when I saw that movie! And that kitchen, 13 years later–in face the entire home stands up totally fresh as it was back then.

      Now, why is that? haha!

      And yes, the brick and stone is a coming!

  25. I love the lamps, the artwork tucked in small places, the bead board ceiling, the orange lamps in the library – looks like coral, the collection of dinnerware, the coffee area and most of all the little cat/dog water dish that wasn’t moved for aesthetic reasons. Now questions, I too wonder what are those swirly thingies on the wall (trivets?), what is that unusual stove backsplash (I have to wonder how to clean it, with all the bumps, etc.). And I do agree about the radiator, brings back many childhood memories. So nice of Nancy to share her lovely kitchen with us.

    1. Hi Betty,

      I heard from Nancy who answered all of those questions that we all have. She’s so unbelievably creative!

      I just realized I have those same childhood memories of my grandparent’s flat in Chicago. My building was built about the same time and I too have radiators. They aren’t quite that nice though.

  26. Gorgeous! Every square inch is utilized perfectly. (BTW- those “curly things” look like checkerboard cake inserts.)

    1. Hi Melissa,

      Thank you so much. I just found out that they are part of an antique light fixture. The person who bought the fixture didn’t want them and the dealer sold them to Nancy for five bucks!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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