A touch of whimsy
Creative eclectic elements define space and satisfy function in this unconventional beach house kitchen
Staff -- Interior Design, 3/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
Sometimes unusual spaces call for unusual solutions. The unusual space in this case is a circular beach house in need of renovation in an isolated community on Water Island, NY. The challenge presented to D'Aquino Monaco Inc., New York, NY, was to separate the kitchen visually from the formal dining area and living room while maintaining the openness of the space.
"The client had a gutted space that is an open 360-degree circle with windows on almost all the sides that look out on the ocean," explains Carl D'Aquino. "The house was originally built in the 1960s in two pavilions. Other than retaining the 12-sided shape, nothing remains of the original interiors.
"The client wanted to entertain in the living room, dining room and kitchen. He wanted a casual kitchen, but a formal dining room from which you could not see the kitchen. At the same time, he wanted the kitchen area kept open," says D'Aquino.
The solution involved creating eclectic and unconventional elements to serve the needed functions while not impinging on the architecture or airiness of the space. "We took a sculptural approach and came up with tall elements to mask the kitchen while maintaining an open feeling," says D'Aquino.
"The roof peaks like an Indonesian tent in this 12-sided room," D'Aquino comments. The freestanding maple structure developed to shield the kitchen from the open-layout living and dining rooms brings together the refrigerator, wall oven, microwave, and ample storage on one side and features storage for china and silver and a walk-in pantry on the other. The structure is whimsically peaked, like a mini-house within the house.
"There's no glass in the cabinetry. Instead, it is ventilated through the inclusion of copper mesh screens in the door fronts for natural ventilation," says D'Aquino. "In mid-February or March you can come into the house and it smells fresh. It's as maintenance-free as it can get."
The workstation beneath the windows includes a cooktop, dishwasher, stainless steel sink and counterspace. "It is all stainless steel and sandblasted aluminum. It is very sculptural as well," says D'Aquino, whose firm custom designed most of the components in the kitchen.
The custom-designed circular chopping stand mounted on casters is made of aluminum and stainless steel components with Corian inlay for the chopping surface. The unit includes storage drawers for cooking utensils.
The informal Thai-style table and French bistro chairs allow the owner and guests to enjoy breakfast while viewing the ocean. "There is a more formal dining table and chairs adjacent to the living room on the opposite side of the storage/appliance structure," says D'Aquino.
Easily maintained cedar plank siding has been installed throughout the house. The flooring is stained oak.
"The shutters modulate the sunlight. It's a simple system," says D'Aquino. There are no lights in the ceiling. The space is illuminated unconventionally via MR-16 uplights recessed into the floor, with the exception of the Victorian style lamp suspended over the sink workstation.
The living and dining areas feature a modern mix of Italian and French '60s furniture.
Creative solutions custom designed for an unusual space.
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