The Abate Home
Maureen and Joe Abate moved into their Winchester home in 1971. Having four young kids, it was only natural that they created an environment with children in mind. Nearly four decades later, they’ve made some major renovations that reflect how their needs and preferences have evolved. Kid-friendliness is still a factor – they now have 10 grandchildren – but no longer tops the list.
“As you get older, your tastes change and your world expands,” said Maureen. “It’s very gratifying to incorporate elements of what you’ve seen and learned over the years.”
A Fresh Look
Last year, Custom Contracting completed a renovation of the Abates’ kitchen, master bathroom and closet, Jack and Jill bathroom, and first-floor bathroom. Each room, said Maureen, had felt dated and needed a fresh look.
The kitchen originally consisted of two spaces, one for food preparation and one for dining, separated by a peninsula with hanging cabinets above. The arrangement divided the room and caused problems with flow and natural light.
We came in and gutted the entire kitchen. Rather than replacing the peninsula, we installed a large island with cosmic black granite countertop. It’s Maureen’s favorite feature in the remodeled room.
“I love the motion in this granite; there’s a lot of flow through here, and you can see the depths in it,” she said. “You can really think about how this granite developed over the ages. You feel like you’re part of something eternal. It’s quite beautiful.”
Our designer, Nikki DeFelice, designed the island. Diagonals on its opposite sides provide wonderful symmetry with the two corner cabinets. The island is functional, too. Maureen notes that she often lines up grandchildren on the chairs and gives them jobs to do before a meal.
More Light, More Warmth
Besides removing the peninsula, we opened up the kitchen in other ways. Adding two more windows above the sink expanded the view of the backyard and brought in more light. We also widened the doorway leading into the family room.
The Brazilian cherry floors – a nice step up from the ceramic tile that was previously there – bring warmth as well as comfort when you’re standing for extended periods. And the honey-stained maple cabinets feature clean lines for a Shakeresque simplicity.
“This kitchen is exactly what I wanted,” said Maureen. “It’s a little bit modern and upscale, and the overall style is clean rather than cluttered and ornate.”
All four bathrooms in the home were gutted and reconfigured, and now have a “universal design” for better access. The Jack and Jill bathroom received a new full-size bathtub, while the first-floor bathtub was relocated.
Our work on the master bathroom required slight changes to how the room is accessed from the bedroom and closet. New shelving designed and installed by Contemporary Closets of Newton, meanwhile, enhances the closet’s functionality.
Finally, throughout the second floor, we ripped up carpeting and installed pre-finished oak hardwood flooring.
Praise for Culkins
Maureen was referred to Custom Contracting by clients Nancy McMahon and Frank Jackson, who lauded the quality of our work and our people. She said we didn’t disappoint.
“All of the people who came into my house were great. Very considerate, respectful, nice and fun,” said Maureen.
Tom Culkins served as the lead carpenter on the project.
“Tom is a hard worker. Very talented, very patient and a great sense of humor,” said Maureen. “And he will not settle for being anything less than perfect. He’s an incredibly precise woodworker; the details of the millwork he did by hand are very impressive.”
Thank you to the Abates for putting their trust in Custom Contracting and opening their home to us for this article!