Barbara Ostrom’s obsession with originality is evident in this Shrewsbury, N.J., kitchen, where no inch was left untouched. “My kitchens never look like you went into a showroom and picked something out. They are never generic,” she says. “I always try to give them character and keep them from looking typical.” Everything Ostrom selected reflects her clients’ taste for things out of the ordinary—from the vintage pattern reproduced in tin for the ceiling to the antique columns that were rescued from a salvage yard to form an entry into the breakfast area.
However, form did have to follow function. “They are big-time cooks and use this space daily,” says Ostrom. “They had to have top-of-the-line commercial appliances and lots of space to work in.” With two islands, a grilling station, a 7-foot-tall Traulsen refrigerated wine rack, and French doors opening out to their cutting garden, the space is as charming to cook in as it is to eat in.
“The clients didn’t want anything fussy, which was difficult since they had so many hobbies and collections,” Ostrom says. “So we kept the colors simple with black and white, and I used every inch of space—like the large rack that we attached strong industrial meat-locker hooks to and hung over the range for their copper pots, or the vintage wine basket we hung on the wall in the breakfast room to put fresh-cut flowers in.” But perhaps the most important aspect was making the kitchen fit with its surroundings. Here, Ostrum drew on her years of training at Pratt and the Sorbonne. “Even though the kitchen is brand new, the rest of the house was built in the late 1800s,” Ostrom explains. “But the styles blend together so well that you would never know they came from a different era.”
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