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Tour a Charming Colonial-Era Abode in Hockessin

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The first thing Joe and Beverly Bosik did when they moved into their two-story center hall Colonial in Hockessin in 1984 was to swap their large formal living room and a small, intimate dining room.

“We entertain a lot, especially for family holidays,” Beverly says. “We needed a big dining room more than a big living room.”

The Bosiks are accomplished hosts. They also are avid cooks who enjoy preparing and serving sumptuous repasts.

But while their elegant dining room was the perfect setting for sharing meals, their kitchen was short on charm and natural light. The couple lived with the space for more than 30 years, mostly because they couldn’t bear to tear out the high-quality fittings.

“It took a long time to commit to a change because the cabinets were gorgeous, upgraded solid cherry—beautiful, but dark,” she says.

For years, Beverly collected ideas for a new kitchen, browsing Houzz, watching home and garden TV shows, going on house tours and adding images to her Pinterest folder.

“By the time we were ready to do the kitchen, I had it all in my head and had measured everything down to a quarter inch,” she says.

 

Photo by Joe del Tufo

Photo by Joe del Tufo

 

A test kitchen

She used the existing kitchen as an incubator of sorts, testing ideas for the new space. To determine the ideal height for a backsplash behind the cook top, for example, she cooked a pot of spaghetti sauce. “I let it splatter, then marked the highest splatter mark,” she says. “That gave me the precise height we needed.”

The top of an enclosed hutch is a precise 18 inches deep to accommodate mixers and other appliances. Beverly’s vision also includes a bar area, strategically sited off the adjoining sitting room, with a sturdy pull-out drawer for liquor bottles. “It had to be deep enough to fit the tallest bottle, so I measured them, too.”

She retained the highly functional peninsula in the original layout. But she reimagined everything else.

Her plan included structural improvements, such as borrowing space from the adjoining garage in order to open the back of the kitchen. The window in the dining area was replaced with sliding glass doors that usher in sunlight from the patio. Joe installed beefier moldings around windows and doors to complement the crown moldings on the cabinets.

Icy white quartz countertops—“the brightest white we could find”—and classic white subway tiles infuse the kitchen with a vibe that is cheerful and timeless. The upper cabinets are crisp white. The lower cupboards are warm gray. “I wanted the cabinets to look like furniture, and having two tones gives the kitchen that special, one-of-a-kind feeling I was going for,” she says.

To turn their wish list into reality, the Bosiks turned to Craft-Way Kitchens in Wilmington. “They were great to collaborate with and truly listened to what we were trying to achieve in our kitchen,” Beverly says.

The result is a sophisticated, inviting space that is a daily joy for the Bosiks, a place where they can prepare food and enjoy casual dining.

“I do like to cook, and this is a very pleasant place to work in,” Joe says.

 

It’s all in the details

Photo by Joe del Tufo

Beverly’s penchant for details is reflected in the kitchen’s styling. Polished nickel pulls on cabinets and drawers have chamfered edges, echoing the trim on the sconces in the dining area. She found that she was unconsciously drawn to pieces that reflected that aesthetic, picking up a ceramic tray with chamfered corners during a shopping trip.

A vintage-style Waterstone polished nickel faucet shimmers above the sink. A collection of milk glass vases and bowls is displayed in an open niche above the stainless steel fridge. A built-in buffet in the dining area exudes Old World charm. It is topped with a potted boxwood topiary, figurines of sheepherders, and a silver tea service and biscuit box.

There’s a gracious sense of welcome throughout the house. In the dining room, the table is always set with an ever-changing tableau of dishes and decorations the Bosiks have collected over the years. The rotation includes potted orchids, fresh-cut flowers, candles, footed crystal bowls, gold chargers, fine china and figurines that feature a large pair of white ceramic pagodas.

Asian accents provide an artistic twist to traditional pieces: two sideboards, a large china cupboard and a grandmother clock handed down by Joe’s mother. His sister-in-law painted the Japanese-inspired watercolor rendering of a pair of cranes that hangs above “The Teacher,” an Asian figurine the Bosiks found at Gumps, the iconic home furnishings store in San Francisco.

It’s an expansive room, measuring 14 feet by 21 feet, large enough to accommodate several tables in large gatherings. To improve the flow for parties, the Bosiks added a second large cased opening that provides ready access to the kitchen and family room, mirroring the original passage into the foyer.

The centerpiece of the room is a traditional mahogany table made by Councill Craftsmen more than 40 years ago. A brass chandelier with petals reminiscent of a chrysanthemum is mounted high above the table to allow for headroom when the room is reconfigured for large parties.

 

Photo by Joe del Tufo

 

A formal sitting room

The Bosiks have a large family room with a fireplace and comfy seating for reading or watching TV. But they still enjoy the original dining room, which is now a formal sitting room that’s ideal for conversation. Joe calls it the red room, a reference to its deep crimson walls.

Portraits of beagles, equestrian accents, and a collection of canes and walking sticks give the room the aura of an English country manor. There’s a large candelabra on the cocktail table. Beverly, a gifted artist, painted “Hope,” the atmospheric oil painting of sunlight breaking through dark clouds.

Each time she completes a home improvement project, Joe makes her a plaque, with the name of the room and the year the project was completed.

“Usually, he makes me a brass plaque, but the kitchen plaque is white,” she says.

Says Joe, “everything in the kitchen is so color coordinated, it had to have a plaque to match.”


GET THE LOOK

Indulge in aesthetics. The Bosik kitchen is as pretty as it is practical, with cabinetmaker detailing, custom millwork and sophisticated accents. Take your measurements. Precision matters in making plans for your dream kitchen. Think about the steps you will take, your storage needs—even how high the spaghetti sauce will splatter. Enjoy your good china every day. At the Bosik house, the dining room table is always set with dishes and crystal the couple collected over the years. Rethink your space. Borrowing a few feet from an attached garage allowed the Bosiks to expand their kitchen. Do your research. Beverly Bosik collected design ideas and practical resources when coming up with a one-of-a-kind kitchen plan that suits her and her family.

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