A Tale of Two Kitchens

This beautiful kitchen is a Tale of Two Kitchens. The blog tells the story of what goes into designing a kosher kitchen. Designed by Sharon L Sherman Thyme & Place Design

Transforming a Kosher Kitchen

Today’s story is truly a tale of two kitchens. I am not talking about two separate kitchens. I mean two separate kitchens in one space that is both functional and gorgeous. Follow along as my story dives into the world of designing a kosher kitchen.

View into the renovated kosher kitchen from The Tale of Two Kitchens. Designed by Sharon L Sherman Kitchen Designer NJ Thyme & Place Design. Light rift cut white oak cabinets, beautiful white and lilac tiles tell the tale. Photo by Mike Van Tassell

The Tale of Two Kitchens: Designed by Thyme and Place Design.

A Tale of Two Kitchens: Understanding Kosher Kitchen Requirements:

Before we dive into the details of this project, it’s crucial to grasp the concept of a kosher kitchen. Kosher dietary restrictions mandate the strict separation of meat and dairy products, from serving pieces to food preparation and storage. Additionally, there’s a need for a dedicated area to store Passover dishes. Meeting these requirements can be quite a challange, but it’s a challenge I accepted with coaching from my client. 

My story begins with a unique twist – the client is not just a homeowner; they are neighbors and dear friends. The existing kitchen, last renovated in the late ’80s, had some quirks that always bothered me.

Here are some of my pain points.

  • Refrigerator Location: The refrigerator’s location was less than ideal, disrupting the kitchen’s flow. Inconvenielty situated in a high traffic area between the kitchen and the dining room. 
  • Ceiling Contrast: A dropped header over the dining room entrance clashed with the kitchen’s vaulted ceiling.
  • Tight Squeeze: The kitchen’s main entrance was through a cramped passage.
  • Island Issue: The island had a downdraft cooktop which is fine. The lowered eating counter behind it was not a favorite detail.
  • Desk Dilemma: A desk, once useful, had become an outdated catchall, especially in the world of tablets and laptops.
  • Logistic Issues: There was insufficient preparation space and pantry storage was located downstairs. 


The before photo from A Tale of Two Kitchens showing the island and the refrigerator

Before photo: Sharon L Sherman


Before photo looking toward the space now containing the coffee bar.

Before photo

Now let me reveal the steps I took to rewrite this tale of two kitchens.

The Kitchen Transformation Journey
  • Relocating the Refrigerator: I shifted the entrance to the dining room down, allowing me to relocate the refrigerator into the work area and out of traffic. This solved my first issue with the former kitchen design. 
  • Ceiling Elevation: By reframing part of the ceiling when shifting the doorway, we reclaimed the vaulted ceiling’s beauty, eliminating my second concern.
  • Creating a Coffee/Wine Bar: Repurposing the space freed up by shifting the doorway, I designed a coffee/wine bar. This also involved reclaiming part of a long foyer closet and widening the hallway leading into the kitchen.
  • Redefining the Island: I relocated the dairy sink from under a window to the island, making it a multifunctional hub. It now serves as a prep area and has seating for 5 as well as dish storage. The cooktop was shifted to an outside wall along with the oven. This move provided a beautiful canvas for a feature of lilac marble tile creating a stunning visual from the door. 
  • Goodbye, Desk: The desk was replaced with a walk-in pantry, making better use of space and improving the main entrance to the kitchen.
  • Smart Storage Solutions: The cooktop wall boasts nine drawers for separate storage of meat and dairy cookware, serving items, knives, spices, and bakeware. Wall cabinets throughout the kitchen combined with tall, shallow pantry cabinet storage provide ample space. The framed walk-in pantry accommodates everything else.

Materials and Style

The kitchen’s design style exudes contemporary elegance with subtle “quiet luxury” details. I chose riff-cut white oak cabinets with black hardware for a modern effect. Quartz countertops offer both aesthetics and practicality and have a hint of lilac veining which the client loved. The walls are painted a deep violet color which sets off the beauty of the rift-cut oak cabinets.

Rift cut white oak flat panel veneer doors are used in the perimeter of the kitchen design. Black hardware accents and faucets add a dramatic touch. A steam oven and convection oven handle all the baking needs of this Tale of Two Kitchens designed by Thyme and Place Design

Designed by: www.thymeandplacedesign.com

The backsplash features white Thasos stone tile for a touch of sparkle, while the feature wall behind the hood and bar boasts a lilac and white marble tile. The island cabinets and bar cabinets, in a dark wenge finish, create a striking contrast with the light oak. The coffee bar area also features Brown Antique quartzite countertops.

Closer view of the marble tile backsplash with the metal hood above the induction cooktop.The dark brown wenge used on the island cabinets peeks through in the corner.

Photo by: Mike Van Tassell Designed by Thyme and Place Design


A wall of tall shallow pantry storage provides ample cabinetry to keep everything in the kitchen with room to spare.

Tall pantry cabinet wall.


A snapshot of the coffee/wine bar in a dark wenge wood with beautiful lilac tile splash, wine refrigerator and stainless and glass wall cabinet.

Coffee and Wine Bar

The Final Touch: Flooring:

To tie the entire design together, we selected durable and visually appealing Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring. It blends seamlessly with the surrounding floors, offering ease of maintenance and providing comfort underfoot.

A Magical Transformation:

I feel that this project is a testament to the power of thoughtful kitchen design. I’ve taken you on a journey through the challenges and triumphs of creating a kosher kitchen that combines functionality, style, and adherence to strict dietary requirements. It’s a tale of two kitchens within one space, showcasing the incredible potential and power of a well-executed design. 

Do you have questions about kitchen design or intrigued by this unique project? I am here to answer your queries and share more insights into the world of kitchen and bath design. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog, “Tips From The Trade,” for a deeper dive into all things kitchen and bath.

Sharon L. Sherman, ASID, NCIDQ, CID, CKD


Sharon is the founder of Thyme and Place Design, headquartered in Wyckoff, New Jersey. She’s been practicing kitchen and bath design for the past 40 years and is a Past President of the American Society of Interior Designers – New Jersey chapter. She is a current member of the editorial board of KBB Magazine, the official magazine of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Sharon has also received a Kitchen Bath Design News 2022 Innovator of the Year Award and was a Praiseworthy Pick by Kitchen Bath & Business Magazine. 

Her award-winning designs and editorial comments have been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Design Milk, Furniture Lighting and Decor, Designers Today, Bergen NJ magazineKitchen & Bath Design News, Woman’s Day, Country Decorating, Design NJ, New Jersey Home Magazine, 201 Magazine, The Best of Bergen, Savvy Living, The Vue, The Record, The Star-Ledger,  and Aspire as well as several books.

Her blog “Tips from the Trade” has been posted by Design NJ, KBBonline, and Take5. She has also appeared on HGTV’s My Big Amazing Renovation and episodes of House Smarts with Lou Manfredini.  Sharon was a featured speaker for  *Voices From The Industry*  at the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s international convention and The International Surfaces Event and is available for further speaking engagements nationwide on all topics related to the world of Kitchen and Bath design as well as running a successful kitchen and bath design business. She is also a CEU provider for IDCEC and The NKBA.




  1. Barry Litwin

    Nice kitchen reno and nice article.

    • Sharon L Sherman

      Thank you so much Barry

      • Kimberly Little

        Amazing work! Beautiful kitchen.

        • Sharon L Sherman

          Thank you Kimberly. Your appliances added to the design.

  2. Lisa A Peck

    What a beautiful and elegant change! The function of a kosher kitchen combined with beauty is a really tough design challenge which you rose to wonderfully.

    • Sharon L Sherman

      Thank you Lisa. I know you can appreciate the need for both form and function.


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Sharon sherman

My award-winning designs haven been featured in multiple magazines, industry publications and on television. That’s nice affirmation, to be sure.

But perhaps the greatest accolade I’ve received is the repeat engagements with so many clients, project after project, year after year.

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