for the patina copper
gains with age. (Copper,
she maintains, “cleans up
well.”) She wanted three
different shades of wood
in her cabinets “to help
delineate the space, break
up what would be monot-
onous and add some in-
terest and warmth. The
kitchen is simply too big
to have just one color on
She wanted to re-
tain the big, beautifully
weathered wood ceiling
beams. They were not
structural supports, so
she had them removed
during renovation, reinstalling some while repurposing others as
table legs, facings for the pull-out spice drawers and a frame for the
cooktop. All of that proved relatively easy to bring about.
But it took a material she never associated with interior design—concrete—to complete the perfectly practical yet personal kitchen she had dreamed of for years.
Comizio had always admired stone trough sinks, but finding one proved a challenge. While deciding on counter surfaces, Rutkay encouraged her client to visit JM Lifestyles, a
concrete fabricator. That led to the kismet moment: Visiting
JM’s Randolph showroom, Comizio spotted an old, beautifully weathered, wood-plank farmhouse table. In fact, it was new
and made of concrete.
It turned out that faux-wood concrete was something new for
JM Lifestyles, a way of branching into new forms, product developer Jeff Kudrick told them. They were old hands at making
concrete look and feel like weathered stone and molding it into
custom shapes. What’s more, concrete, says Kudrick, is durable
and stain- and scratch-resistant. “It ages gracefully,” he says. “It’s
not meant to look brand new.” The cost is comparable to upper-end granite, he adds, averaging about $125 a square foot.
Creating the sink and countertops that Comizio wanted would
not require reinforcing her kitchen floor. “We engineer the concrete to be lighter, more sustainable and perform better in general
applications,” Kudrick says. “We use a recycled glass aggregate
that makes the concrete 40 percent lighter” than concrete found
in sidewalks. JM’s concrete uses Portland cement, but about 30
percent less than regular concrete, with no resins or hardeners.
For Comizio, wish fulfillment seemed at hand.
But not so fast. There is no magic
wand. Precision custom molds had
to be created based on full-size templates measured on site. “We had to
make a three-dimensional mock-up
of the whole island and build mock
cabinets to make sure what we were
making fit on site seamlessly,” Kudrick says. “The sink was hand-carved to look like stone. Independently, these are very big challenges.
Then, to accommodate all of them
with a mold system that was not even
To complete the kitchen’s farmhouse look, Kudrick designed
a concrete service bar fabricated to look like natural stone. De-
signer Rutkay credits her client for the kitchen’s overall concept.
“This was very, very much something she envisioned.”
As a treat for the children, Kudrick gave each of them a wood-
en box filled with clay just soft enough to be carved. He invited
each to etch a personal design into the clay, which he then molded
in concrete and placed in strategic spots around the kitchen.
“That’s the wow,” says Comizio. “People are always looking
around to see if they can find the five carvings. It’s fun, and it’s
different, and it’s very much only ours.” ■
Interior Design: Caitlin Rutkay, C. R.
Interior designs, Florham Park, 973-715-
Concrete fabrication: Jeff Kudrick, JM
Lifestyles, Randolph, 973-668-5057.
Builder: KC Halidon Custom Homes,
Normandy Beach, 732-854-7030.
Kitchen cabinets and design: Jackie
Lindstrom, Living Spaces, Morristown,
Hand-blown light fixtures: Megna Hot
Glass Studio, East Hampton, New York.
Pantry doors: 1st Dibs. 1stdibs.com
Pull-out spice drawers
(top) are faced with
wood from the old ceiling beams and mounted
next to the stove for
easy access while
cooking. Old horseshoes serve as trivets.
Comizio, searching online, found doors from
an old bakery truck and
used them in her wood