Sea Isle City, New Jersey, is the go-to summer destination for those from New York and Philadelphia, remarks designer Kevin Bennert. The Cape May County city, which hugs the Atlantic Ocean, is also the place Bennert has spent many of his own summers, a place close to his heart.
“My husband’s parent’s house is there and we all stay there in the summer,” he adds.
So when it came to updating the family vacation home, Bennert and his partner, Rachelle Lazzaro, were the perfect duo. “My in-laws have had the house for 20 years now and the kitchen was showing signs of wear and tear, the cabinets were coming off the hinges, and it was time for a refresh,” he says.
For the renovation, they turned to BOXI for a custom kitchen on a budget. “We worked with Semihandmade for years on different projects and have always been a fan of Semihandmade as a company, but during the pandemic we realized IKEA couldn’t keep up any more.”
They jumped at the opportunity to utilize BOXI cabinetry to make over the dated kitchen. While the old layout worked well, their vacation priorities,which include mainly cooking breakfasts and lighter fare, required a different design approach. “You don’t necessarily use the kitchen the same way you would at home,” he says. A major goal was to revitalize storage, as well as eliminate the dead corner cabinet in the peninsula. There’s now a large pantry, which conceals the microwave, as well as storage for entertaining.
When it came to choosing the cabinetry, Bennert knew BOXI was the right choice to stand up to his 4-year-old nephew and 2-year-old niece. The durable, easy-to-clean cabinets are child-proof and still make the space feel bright and elevated, especially paired with Rejuvenation Ball Cabinet Knobs and Blair Bin Pulls.
While white cabinets are the traditional beach kitchen choice, Bennert wanted layered neutrals and BOXI’s Salt Shaker cabinets were the most natural pick. The Shaker-style cabinets surround a custom island inspired by a French antique console, fabricated by Freestate Millworks, that “pops nicely against the washed oak tone of the cabinets”
A Delta faucet in Champagne Bronze, Vermont Danby marble countertops, Restoration Hardware pendants, and GE Cafe stainless steel appliances complete the space, while reclaimed 100-year-old tile and a sconce inspired by the Normandy coast add that lived-in feel.
The renovation wrapped in just three months, finishing by Memorial Day weekend, right under the gun for the season, remarks the designer. And while renovations can be stressful, for the designers, this project all came down to planning.
“We’ve done this a million times over,” Bennert says. “It was great working with Jacky from BOXI and to have another professional on the other end with a fresh set of eyes.”