Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 1/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Owning a New York pied-à-terre is a luxury, but keeping a part-time home tidy is not. Cleanup can turn a brief stay into a major ordeal. With that in mind, the New Mexico–based owners of a Manhattan studio apartment prioritized upkeep when they hired architecture firm Desai/Chia Studio to redo the 650-square-foot space. Principals Arjun Desai and Katherine Chia designed a kitchen and bath—typically the most labor-intensive rooms to maintain—while keeping the efficiency of a ship's cabin in mind.
Situated at the windowless, interior end of the apartment, the galley kitchen is tucked beneath a guests' sleeping loft (reached via a stainless-steel staircase with open risers). Fluorescent lighting strategically embedded in the loft's steel support structure washes the kitchen's plastic-laminate backsplash and concrete counters, making the entire cooking space "appear luminous and glowing," says Chia. A dishwasher, an under-counter refrigerator, and storage space hide behind plastic-laminate custom cabinetry.
To separate the bathroom from the living area, Desai/Chia installed an acid-etched glass wall encompassing a floor-to-ceiling pivot door. The translucent plane, which shifts from celadon to blue depending on the intensity and angle of light, provides a splash of color in the otherwise neutral palette. The material also allows daylight to filter into the bathroom while maintaining some measure of privacy.
Inside the bathroom, lotions and potions are stashed in a sleek mirrored medicine cabinet and an adjacent 7-inch-deep storage unit fronted in white satin-lacquer MDF. Walls of hand-waxed gray-tinted stucco and custom floor tiles of concrete form a "waterproof shell that can be hosed down with ease," says Chia, who selected a wall-mounted sink and toilet for the same reason. "They hover above the floor, so it can be vacuumed quickly, without anything getting in the way." The streamlined, floating fixtures solve not only maintenance problems but spatial ones as well: The unobstructed swath of floor makes the bathroom appear larger than its 37-square-foot size.
CHAIRS (DINING AREA): KNOLL. BACKSPLASH PLASTIC LAMINATE (KITCHEN): ABET LAMINATI. CUSTOM CABINETRY: CITY CABINET KITCHEN SYSTEMS. FAUCET: DORNBRACHT. FLUORESCENT LIGHTING: LEGION LIGHTING COMPANY. COUNTER (KITCHEN), CUSTOM TILE (BATHROOM): GET REAL SURFACES. STEELWORK (STAIR): STUDIO 40. SINK, TOILET (BATHROOM): DURAVIT. SINK FITTING: VOLA. SHOWER FITTINGS: GROHE AMERICA. CUSTOM CABINETRY: EPOCHE STUDIOS. DOOR HARDWARE: DORMA GROUP NORTH AMERICA. STUCCO: ORAZIO DE GENNARO STUDIO. CEILING FIXTURE: USA ILLUMINATION. STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: ATTILA RONA. GENERAL CONTRACTOR: ZZZ CARPENTRY.