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After years of renting in New York City, Mary Kate Frerichs and Achille Confuorto were ready to leave the bustling metropolis and buy their first home in the suburbs.

The engaged couple was drawn to Princeton, New Jersey for its charming main street, diverse community, and proximity to their families, but had difficulty finding a property that checked all their boxes. It wasn’t until a 1945 fixer upper appeared on the market that they put in an offer.

Just a short bike ride from town and oozing with historic character, the house was everything the duo wanted. They even appreciated its outdated, neglected state because it made way for plenty of renovations. “We were excited to finally be able to give a space our own touch,” Frerichs explains.

The first order of business was a complete remodel of the cramped kitchen and tiny half bathroom, so the pair enlisted Sarah Sherman Samuel to swiftly usher the ground level into the 21st century with a more open floor plan and cozy contemporary finishes that still honor the original construction.

Before look at a breakfast nook area with kitchen off to the left

Breakfast nook with swagged pendant and fiddle leaf fig

Updating the Layout

As frequent entertainers and home cooks, Frerichs and Confuorto were looking to expand the kitchen, maximize its functionality, and connect it with the breakfast nook. Samuel accomplished these goals by pushing back one wall to increase storage and demolishing part of another to fuse the areas. “The spaces still feel distinct, but flow naturally into one another,” Frerichs describes. “Even just removing half of the wall made a huge difference.”

Before image of a white kitchen with terra cotta floors

Marble backsplash between white and grey shaker cabinets

Managing a Tight Timeline

Eager to settle in, Frerichs and Confuorto were hoping for a quick turnaround on the project. Samuel rose to the challenge by opting for BOXI by Semihandmade cabinets (for the kitchen, bathroom, and built-in home bar) that were ready to ship as soon as she placed her order. The Shaker doors, which she employed in Salt on the uppers and Mushroom on the lowers, achieve a chic modern traditional vibe. The Rejuvenation brass hardware just adds to the allure.

Before view of a light blue powder room

Marble bathroom with shower

Working with a New Normal

Perhaps the most impressive feat is Samuel crafted this speedy dream kitchen entirely virtually. While many creatives have been forced to work over Zoom during the pandemic, Samuel was actually comfortable designing remotely way before COVID-19 because she’s based in Michigan while her clients live all over the country. “I have found it very helpful to have a local project manager, so they end up being my feet on the ground,” she reveals. It seems the future of interiors might already be upon us.

Before view of an empty wall

Built in home bar with a beverage refrigerator

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