House Design

5 renovation tips to steal from this design guru’s Connecticut kitchen

Wall-to-wall tiling and materials picked with passion make this designer's kitchen a seriously stylish space

A kitchen with navy cabinetry, white tiled walls and brass hardware
(Image credit: Barbara Sallick/William Abranowicz)

Barbara Sallick is no stranger to designing kitchens. As the Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Design at Waterworks, Sallick is an expert in high-end kitchen ideas and bathroom hardware.

When it came to renovating her own Connecticut kitchen, Sallick got the chance to indulge in all her favorite pieces from the studio and beyond. 

The result is a contemporary kitchen with farmhouse-style flourishes, a well-thought-through layout and touches of personality throughout. From a dining area with a stunning view to all-out tiling, Sallick gave us a tour of her kitchen and showed us what makes it tick.

1. Make the most of the space

The dining area of a kitchen with white wall tiles, dark wood dining chair and large window

(Image credit: Barbara Sallick/William Abranowicz)

‘I wanted to use the existing space more effectively, and to take advantage of the view toward the greenery on my terrace and the setting sun,’ said Sallick, who reconfigured the original layout. ‘Even though the footprint was small, I knew it could be tweaked to allow for better traffic flow and more storage, and open to the lovely views.’

‘I like the tight footprint which lets me grab dishes from a drawer near the dishwasher and  sink, and have all of my utensils and pots near the cooking and prep areas. It saves thousands of steps a day.’ 

2. Go all out with tiling for low-maintenance style

A kitchen with white tiled walls and a white hood with gold embellishments

(Image credit: Barbara Sallick/William Abranowicz)

‘I’d always dreamed of creating a room that was like a ceramic tile box, so I installed 4 inch by 8 inch ceramic tiles on all four walls,’ explained Sallick of her kitchen tile ideas.

The result is a wall-to-wall sense of care and attention to detail, as well as an environment that glistens with glazed shine. ‘I love the grid that the tile creates, its elegant crackle glaze and how maintenance-free it makes the space.’ 

3. Find a good home for your old kitchen cabinets 

A navy kitchen cabinet with glass fronted doors

(Image credit: Barbara Sallick/William Abranowicz)

‘I also wanted to replace the existing cabinets, which were of poor quality with ugly interiors, unattractive countertops backsplash,’ said Sallick, who had bigger and better kitchen cabinet ideas. ‘We were able to donate them to a company that could refurbish and sell them.’ 

The new kitchen cabinets are among the many details created by Waterworks throughout the room. ‘My new hand-built kitchen was designed specifically for the space. It’s painted my favorite navy blue and pale gray.’ 

4. Choose materials you really love 

A custom kitchen sink with brass faucet and marble worktop

(Image credit: Barbara Sallick/William Abranowicz)

‘The hardware is age-friendly, and the materials include beautiful handmade tile and natural stone – two things I’m passionate about,’ said Sallick. ‘I had the kitchen sink custom made to maximize the space and chose Waterworks fittings in an elegant matte nickel.’  

The kitchen features an elegant Arabescota marble countertop and unlacquered brass door handles, both from Waterworks. 

5. Keep it light both day and night

A kitchen bar alcove with marble counter, brass wall sconces, brass faucet and navy cabinetry

(Image credit: Barbara Sallick/William Abranowicz)

While the room is bathed in natural light thanks to large windows, Sallick wanted to make sure her kitchen still looked its best when the sun went down with some considered kitchen lighting ideas

‘We redesigned the lighting scheme, using both task and decorative fixtures to create ambience and shine light where it is most needed,’ said Sallick.  

Among the light fixtures in the room are these brass wall sconces that illuminate the bar alcove, and two glass bell jar pendant lights that hang over the central island. 

Interior Design / Waterworks, Barbara Sallick

Photography / William Abranowicz

Ailis Brennan
Contributing Editor

Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.