As avid skiers, Boston-based interior designer Jess Klein and her husband always loved the idea of purchasing a Vermont getaway. They knew they’d utilize a year-round weekend retreat, hitting the slopes in the winter and exploring the verdant woods in the summer, so it seemed like a good investment too. But it wasn’t until Jess’s father-in-law decided to retire in 2017 that the couple took the leap and bought a place.
“We thought it might be a good opportunity to look for a home that he could live in and help care for, and we would come up to visit,” Jess explained. “We found this three-bedroom, two-bathroom that was perfect. And the location is really great. We’re in Quechee, right near what we call a ‘ski hill.’ I don’t know if they consider it a mountain, but it’s been perfect for our two kiddos to learn how to ski.”
Skiing and hiking kept Jess and her family occupied until they were ready to renovate the 1973 mid-century-modern abode, which was clearly in need of a refresh. After living with the cramped layout and outdated finishes for a few years, Jess was able to thoughtfully devise a plan for the overhaul.
The project finally happened in 2021—and it was worth the wait. To maximize function, Jess expanded the kitchen, reoriented the island, and moved the dining area into part of the living room. Aesthetically, she opted for a contemporary mountain vibe, with crisp white walls, a plaster fireplace, exposed wood storage, and a reeded walnut island to highlight the original mahogany trim. The result is a skier’s oasis.
Location: Nestled in a bucolic village called Quechee, the home is part of a landowner’s community, with a clubhouse and lots of activities. It’s close to Woodstock, which boasts a quaint downtown filled with small businesses.
the before: Despite the tall ceilings, the kitchen-living-dining area felt stuffy and small. Carpet covered half of the floor, while faux wood was on the other. An island inconveniently blocked the natural flow of movement and dark, old finishes only made it worse.
The inspiration: “Acorn Deck House built these homes, and they’re really supposed to reflect the midcentury-modern style,” Jess explains. “The updates that were made by previous owners weren’t embracing that style as much, so we wanted to bring that back. And all of the trim around the doors and windows is original mahogany, so we really wanted to find a way to incorporate that elsewhere into the design.”
Square footage: 750 square feet
Wall Paint: Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. “We wanted something really bright that didn’t read too yellow or too blue,” Jess remembers. “We tried it in one room and it worked nicely, so we just continued it throughout.”
Floors: Villa Bella Villa Borghese Collection Challans smoked French oak engineered planks
Cabinets: Custom by Galloway Fine Furniture in Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore. “The gentleman, Glen, who made the cabinets actually lives in Vermont and is a one-man show—it’s incredible,” Jess raves. “We went to his garage and it was really cool to actually see behind the scenes.”
Hardware: Richelieu finger cabinet pull. “We did a matte black edge pull with the flat-front cabinets because we really wanted to keep it sleek and modern and simple,” Jess reasons.
Islands: Custom reeded walnut by Galloway Fine Furniture. “We really wanted to bring in that mahogany color, and we were trying to find ways to really ground this space using darker colors, so we ended up doing a walnut island that looks quite close to the mahogany,” Jess says.
Counters and backsplashes: Honed Jet Mist granite
Sinks: Rene undermount single basin granite composite kitchen sink. “It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a nice, wide black sink, so it just really blends in with the countertop,” says Jess.
Faucet: Delta Trinsic single-handle pull-down sprayer kitchen faucet
Appliances: KitchenAid self-cleaning slide-in electric convection range, KitchenAid top-control built-in dishwasher, KitchenAid microwave, and Thor Kitchen dual-zone French-door wine and beverage center.
Lighting: AllModern matte black Logan dimmable LED pendant, Rejuvenation Cypress medium sconces, Schoolhouse Cylinder sconces, and France & Son midcentury Stilnovo globe chandelier. “I always love to find a way to bring in a sconce into a kitchen because it adds such interest,” Jess reveals. “I feel as though lighting can be art.”
Furniture: Burke Decor Union Saddle counter stool, West Elm Hunter Shaped Wood stacking chair, custom walnut dining table by Vermont Farm Table, West Elm Urban 3-piece L-shaped sectional, West Elm Maddox coffee table, Room & Board Otis swivel chair, and Crate & Barrel by Leanne Ford Annie charcoal storage cabinet.
Most insane splurges: The custom millwork was the most expensive purchase.
Sneakiest save: Using a leftover faucet from a previous project and keeping some existing furniture helped Jess and her husband save money.
The best part: “I love the kitchen,” Jess muses. “My favorite thing to do is to wake up and watch the sunrise through the sliders. It’s the best setting for making coffee. And it’s the best setting for entertaining. The space brings joy.”
What I’d never do again: Jess wouldn’t change a thing.
Final bill: Around $140,000
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest
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