Emma Austen Tuccillo’s name is fitting. The creative director’s new kitchen looks like it’s straight out of Jane Austen’s 1800s “Pride and Prejudice”—though instead of Regency England, we’re in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
There’s a reason the space harkens back to two centuries ago: The aptly named Hastings House, as Tuccillo calls it, is a “small historic home with a past life as a goat barn that dates back to the late 1700s.”
Honoring Hastings House’s History
When Tuccillo, the founder of And North, a curated upstate New York travel and lodging guide, first saw Hastings House, she fell in love with its façade and classic details. But her first five years living there meant cooking in a kitchen with “outdated linoleum floors, counters in rough shape, unusable cabinets, and poor use of limited space.”
When it finally came time to update the room, Tuccillo knew going the contemporary route was out: “I wanted the kitchen to honor the history and intentional details of the rest of the house,” she says.
Tuccillo’s inspiration for the kitchen’s look and feel came from English cottages and Shaker design (known for its simplicity and utility), plus an amalgam of memory-box details, including her 97-year-old Nan’s “exquisite taste” and a painting by her grandfather depicting buildings in shades of dark green, mustard yellow, sky blue, black, and white.
Not only is that painting displayed proudly in the renovated space, but its distinct color scheme became the reference point for the rug, white oak butcher block countertop, white floor, Rejuvenation brass fixtures, and lighting from Rejuvenation and Materia Designs.
The Gut Renovation
Tuccillo recruited local contractor Donald Wemer (who “became a dear friend in the process”) to start gutting, exposing original barn beams.
Tuccillo says she and Wemer decided to leave a surprise for the next gut renovators: Before laying down the new floor, they left newspaper clippings and a handwritten note. “I love to imagine someone finding it one day in the far future,” she shares.
The Final Stylings
Tuccillo chose a monochromatic grey color palette as the foundation for the kitchen—the beadboard walls and BOXI by Semihandmade Mushroom Shaker cabinets are both swathed in the color—with touches of contrasting black in the socket covers and cabinet pulls.
“I knew I wanted Shaker-inspired cabinets, so [BOXI’s] design in Mushroom was the perfect starting point to the rest of the kitchen.”
Then it was time to adorn—notably, in the vintage treasures Tuccillo likes to collect. “I had a field day deciding where to put beloved objects like my royal Copenhagen tea set and my Nan’s arched brass mirror,” she explains.
The items that gave the new space that je ne sais quoi and “so much personality”? Tuccillo lists off the Reliquary Studio white oak pantry, sheer white cafe curtains (sewed by hand!), Odd Numbers Studio Shaker peg shelf, farmhouse sink, and blown glass and brass sconce above the sink from Materia Designs.
Cabinet Choices Galore
Tuccillo picked BOXI, Semihandmade’s in-house fully assembled line, as her cabinet centerpiece.
On her “wonderful experience” working with the brand, she notes the customizable design and raves, “it may sound silly, but I always dreamed of having a garbage can cabinet that pulls out, so I was overjoyed to add that option to the layout. I also love my wide silverware drawer and the lazy Susan corner cabinet where I store all my pots and pans. The soft-close cabinets add a luxury to my every day that I absolutely love.”
But there are also other ways to get the classic grey look—on any budget.
You can go the Ikea route, swapping out their standard doors with Semihandmade’s DIY Shaker, paintable in any color you like. Or, for something a bit more bespoke, choose BOXI+ for fully customizable cabinets with paintable doors sent straight to your doorstep.
The Final Product
And now? No more cramped, unusable space. Tuccillo is “overjoyed” with how her kitchen transformed: “Every detail feels so personal and has a memory attached to it. Each morning, I turn on the lights by pressing the push button switch, fill up the electric kettle, open the top of the Dutch door for my cat Claude to perch, and gaze out of the windows that face the Hudson River as the curtains gently blow in the wind. It is an absolute dream and I feel immensely grateful to have this space.”