Two Islands and a Beach: Home on Bamber Valley Lake in Salem Sound

Bonita and Steve Patton’s double islands are indoors—surrounded by kitchenware. They also are just a few steps from the Pattons’ private beach on Bamber Valley Lake. The kitchen islands and the beach are both are eye-catching features of last year’s renovation of their house. 


In the late 90s, the young couple purchased their property in the Salem Sound subdivision and built a home largely with their own hands. Working from a starter design, they provided labor to construct their home. “It took about a year to build the house,” Bonita says.

The home’s layout worked well for many years, but as their family grew and their sons got bigger, they made changes. “About 10 years ago, we started to tinker with the kitchen,” she says. “Finally, we decided to gut it all and start over.”


The kitchen was contained in a single room with a half-sized wall looking out one side and a full wall with door on the other side. In spring 2016, the walls at each end were demolished as the work got underway. Once the walls were down, the original kitchen was extended into what was a formal dining area. 


The Pattons kept an original island, which had been used for food preparation, and added a second island with a built-in gas stove for cooking. They also designed a new island with seating space for quick meals and for socializing. They coordinated the two islands with granite countertops in the same mottled brown color pattern.

The couple also spiced up the kitchen decor with some conveniences. A pot filler—a large faucet shaped for pouring water into large pots—decorates the wall behind the cooking island. The copper-colored filler, which swings out from its mounting, is surrounded by a rich wooden hutch with glass doors and storage spaces.

 A wall of cabinets in the original kitchen houses stainless steel appliances along with storage. Among the appliance upgrades are a built-in microwave and a convection oven. The Pattons also indulged in a hidden coffee station, equipped for both espresso and drip coffeemaking. “I love it!” says Bonita.


The renovation gave a new perspective to the main floor, opening up a long sight line across the two islands through the kitchen into the home’s two-story great room.

New flooring also connects the kitchen to other parts of the house. The Pattons chose an out-of-the-ordinary hardwood, called acacia wood, to replace the original white tile in the kitchen. Noted for its durability (harder than oak or maple), acacia also is a decorative material. It features streaks and knots of color ranging from deep brown to light cream, according to Home Flooring Pros, a consumer-oriented website. “We really wanted to warm it (the kitchen) up by using the acacia wood,” Bonita says. “I love the various colors in the floor.”

While the kitchen remodeling was coordinated with modern styling, the home also contains hints of Old World Europe: the cloth mural in the great room, which shows a castle and pastoral scene; a multicolored awning with spike supports over the sink in the kitchen; pub chairs with dark leather seats at the kitchen island; heavy, wood dining table with bench seating and oversized antique-look clocks. It’s an eclectic combination.

Bonita created the designs for the kitchen remodeling. “She drew up what she wanted,” says husband, Steve. The couple consulted with an architect during planning. The Pattons coordinated the job themselves but relied on construction professionals to do the work, he says. The interior upgrade also included remodeling of the laundry room and of a half-bathroom on the same level in the 3,400-square-foot house. 


While renovating inside, the couple also rebuilt their waterfront on private Bamber Valley Lake last year. Their backyard descends three tiers to the water line.  “We had the beach completely redone,” including new sand and decorative flat stones at the water’s edge, Bonita describes.

The Pattons can overlook the beach from a platform “Zen bed” or from other seating including hanging chairs. But the star of the beach remains a 60-foot-long, stainless steel water slide, which drops swimmers into the lake. “Tons and tons of fun have been had over the years with that water slide,” Bonita says.

Bonita is a psychologist with her own practice in Rochester. Steve is a project manager in information technology. Together they own Post Town Winery of Rochester. 



Bob Freund is a freelance writer based in Rochester.