March 2024


Creating a contemporary minimalist space that simultaneously feels calming, warm, and full of character is a job easier said than done. More often than not, stark interiors can feel cool and unwelcoming, but the designer couple behind this Connecticut home knew exactly how to strike a balance for a harmonious space fit for family life.

James Veal and Christine Stucker - the husband and wife duo behind Stewart-Schafer studio - transformed this once-dated interior into a minimalist modern home. Inspired by the beauty of the surroundings outside the four walls, they wanted to seamlessly blend indoors and out, with large windows and skylights to flood the previously dark space with plenty of natural light.

The homeowners, a married couple with two children, wanted a space to accommodate family gatherings and entertain guests. Given the wife's passion for cooking, crafting a top-tier kitchen was paramount, and a streamlined space free of clutter took full priority. Central to their vision was the creation of a warm and inviting heart for the home, realized through a strategically positioned island that invites the family to gather.

'We were really given complete creative freedom,' says James. 'The clients are a young family and they wanted the space to be more reflective of their personalities. They come from fashion / creative backgrounds and bought this house site unseen, and we wanted to make it feel timeless and elegant as well as inviting and comfortable.' Here, we take a closer look inside to see how James and Christine achieved just that.

Before James and Christine of Stewart-Schafer worked their magic, the kitchen lacked personality with bland white cabinetry and dark granite countertops that instantly dated the space. Despite being an airy room the space also lacked natural light, so James and Christine strategically integrated a skylight above the island to illuminate the kitchen island below.

'In the kitchen, we gutted the original space and opened it up,' says Christine. 'We moved all the appliances and expanded the overall size. We created a center body which houses the stove - it appears to be holding up the ceiling and follows through into the formal living room. On the back side of this body (in the living room) we added beautiful custom bookcases and additional storage.'