A butler’s pantry is great for people who like to entertain. But with five children at home, the owners of this kitchen consider theirs an essential piece of family survival gear. Architect Ruth Bennett and kitchen designer/cabinetmaker Paul Reidt gave the storage-and-prep space a generous share of the house’s central pavilion, using it to organize activities as well as food. Equipped as a small secondary kitchen, it serves brilliantly at parties and keeps the kids’ snack-and-drink runs conveniently out of the main kitchen.

The bank of cabinets that separates the spaces offers its zinc-topped surface as a serving counter, a beverage bar, or—for the family’s everyday meals—a buffet. Open shelves above create a porous connection between the two zones. The design team, which included the owners, located walk-in storage for dry goods in the butler’s pantry, as well as a pair of built-in homework stations. “It’s kind of a multifunctional core area,” Bennett says.

The main kitchen’s millwork and finishes strike a note of relaxed formality, tempering a strongly axial plan—and refinements such as rift-sawn white oak floors, black granite countertops, and Carrara marble backsplashes—with areas of barn-inspired horizontal V-groove paneling. The painted-wood and walnut cabinets further the balancing act. Reidt started with bone-simple, almost modernist flush drawer fronts and flat-panel doors, then tweaked the design by beefing up horizontal and vertical elements of the face frame. The resulting shadow lines add depth without resorting to curved edge profiles. A dropped soffit over the wall cabinets moderates the room’s 9-foot ceiling, while a band of flat trim is a simple stand-in for crown molding.


The Courtyard Residence is made up of three linked pavilions, each with an independent identity. Architect Ruth Bennett and her clients conceptualized the master bedroom pavilion as a peaceful retreat from the world. The owners “see this as their refuge space, almost as if they were in a cottage of their own,” Bennett says. Located near the master suite’s geographic center, the bathroom conveys an even deeper feeling of remove. But while its landlocked position is great for privacy, Bennett notes, “we wanted to bring in light, so we used [interior] transom windows on two sides.” The result is a room that is inward looking, but with no sense of confinement.

Bennett and designer/cabinetmaker Paul Reidt extended the theme of concentric elements by posing a freestanding tub against a wall of wavy, seawater-color tile. At the opposite wall, a pair of tall cabinets brackets a furniturelike vanity cabinet. A shower and toilet compartment stand unobtrusively to one side—the former, behind a glass door; the latter, a solid one—preserving the symmetry of the bathing space. An abbreviated finish schedule of Carrara marble, ceramic tile, and cherry supports the contemplative aim of the design, and its application makes the room a suitable object of contemplation in itself. “It’s a simple approach,” Reidt says, “but we still wanted to make sure there was a sense of craft.”