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A Bristol couple trusts their instincts in creating a perfect home cook’s kitchen


Sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants and for Bristol homeowners and home-cooks Chris Silva and Jason Conley, they wanted a kitchen built for cooking from scratch. This vision for their 1929 Dutch Colonial involved a bold structural change: an exposed ceiling. “This choice, which we insisted on from the beginning despite the construction complications it presented, served both aesthetic and functional purposes,” begins Silva. “In a small house, every square inch mattered, even in regard to height.”

The couple looked to RIKB Design Build of Warwick to make this joy-of-cooking kitchen work. Says Erika Pearson, design consultant, “They knew they wanted rustic wood finishes, decorative open storage, and a better layout, but needed help bringing everything together and navigating the construction. They recognized that a typical cookie-cutter kitchen wouldn’t make them happy, and they were looking for a firm that could do something more creative and tailored to their style.”

“Initially, we started by tackling the layout,” says Pearson, who explains that any time walls are knocked down in a kitchen, it can become challenging to find enough space for the cabinetry and appliances; adding to that challenge was two different ceiling heights which required careful planning to make sure appliances would clear the space. “We had to spend a bit more time sourcing some of the products, particularly the open shelving, the display niche, and the decorative hood. We went off the beaten path to find these items and even found a craftsman on Etsy who could provide reclaimed wood in the exact sizes we needed, so our project manager could assemble the niche on site to our specifications.”

Other modifications to the kitchen included exposed shelving, glass-front cabinetry, and a spice rack wall, which keeps frequently used essentials within reach while adding a dash of visual interest. “The hanging cookware, fruit and vegetable baskets, cookbooks, and shelving all serve a similar function. We didn’t want to hide the function of the kitchen; we wanted to showcase it!” says Silva with a palpable glee. “Raising the drywall ceiling, we had inherited an exposed beam ceiling that increased the room’s height by a foot, almost two feet at the pinnacle of the south nook! This new kitchen was the final piece to a decade-long puzzle. It makes us smile every day.”


Get Rhody Style

Ideas and resources for making the most of living in the Ocean State.

Beyond Words

“The Rhode Island setting has inspired the coastal cottage style, the color palette, and even some art accents like the BRISTOL sign in the spice rack wall. Jay made that sign years ago, piecing together locally bought letter blocks and nautical flag elements. The flags in the finished sign (S and C) stand for Silva-Conley.”

Family Faves

When the Silva-Conley clan, which includes their young twins, go out to eat, they enjoy Bristol Oyster Bar, Bywater, Waterdog, and Beehive Pantry, and for shopping for new old treasures, it’s Epilogues.

Silva Linings

“Let the beauty and history of the area inspire you while still catering to your taste and aesthetic. Find what you respond positively to and what makes you happy; don’t get bullied by the trend du jour,” says Silva.

Build Local

RIKB Design Build has a 3,000-square-foot design center filled with full-size vignettes, and the latest trends in appliances, countertops, cabinetry hardware, tile, plumbing, lighting, and more. They also hold complimentary remodeling seminars. Learn more at RIKB.com or call 401-463-1550.



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