The Great Divide
Julie Taraska -- Interior Design, 7/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
site: new york
In space-challenged New York, full kitchens are a luxury that many passionate chefs learn to go without. Instead, you become creative. You use your dining table as a prep area and keep your pans in the front closet. Yet there's a point when enough is enough. That was the case for an older couple whose children and grandchildren visit often. Particularly for the wife, who loves to cook, Workshop/APD designed an apartment where the kitchen serves as the spiritual heart, and extended family can be entertained without compromise.
"It's a sweet story," principal Matthew Berman says. "The clients had lived in the same building for a long time, and the kitchen was very small. So the husband gave his wife the gift of being able cook the way she'd always wanted to." He did that by buying two adjoining units and combining them to create a 2,000-square-foot space, big enough for three bedrooms, three and a half baths, and an eat-in kosher kitchen.
Taking up nearly a fifth of the floor plan, the kitchen is packed with enough amenities to make Gordon Ramsay drool. Two sinks and two dishwashers are augmented by double ovens, a cooktop, and a 36-inch-wide refrigerator, all in stainless steel. An island commandeers the center of the floor, but cannily placed cutouts reduce the unit's visual bulk. Food and appliances are housed in a pantry the size of the entire old kitchen, while additional storage space holds wine as well as pots and pans.
Ash-veneered cabinetry, lightly whitewashed, complements the bamboo on the floor and ceiling and contrasts with the quartz-composite counters' cinder gray. To spice up these predominantly pale or silvery tones, Berman and his fellow principal, Andrew Kotchen, added a backsplash of slender glass tiles in three colors (green, gray, and white) and two finishes (matte and polished). An algorithm determined the tiles' staggered pattern, which creates a sense of "motion frozen in time," Kotchen says.
The horizontality of the tiles also ties in with the slats of four full-height screens that help fulfill the clients' request for a "real open plan" that still wouldn't sacrifice privacy when there's a full house. "We've been playing with screening techniques for some time, trying to free them from conventionality," Berman says. Workshop/APD first developed a rough template for each white-poplar screen before arranging and installing all four on-site.
Because the slats are stacked unevenly within a 4-foot-wide framework, some sections are solid, strategically blocking sight lines, while others are open, allowing light in. All the screens share a language, but each has a unique pattern of cutouts tailored to location and function. Between the kitchen and dining area, one screen is open enough to allow interaction, while a denser screen conceals the apartment's gas line. Another, designed to give privacy to the desk in the library, is mostly solid in the middle but open at the edges. The final screen, the only movable one, serves as the master bedroom's sliding door. It looks equally good closed, when visitors are over, as it does left ajar, when the couple are home alone, cooking up a gourmet dinner.
Photography by T.G. Olcott.
FROM FRONT GLACIER GLASS THROUGH STONE SOURCE: TILE (KITCHEN). JULIEN: SINK. DORN-BRACHT: SINK FITTINGS. GRUPPO ROMI: CABINET PULLS (LIBRARY). LOUIS POULSEN LIGHTING: PENDANT FIXTURE (KITCHEN). CAESARSTONE: COUNTER MATERIAL. WOLF: COOKTOP. RANGEMASTER: HOOD. RICHELIEU: CABINET PULLS. THROUGHOUT W.A.C. LIGHTING: RECESSED CEILING FIXTURES. DURO DESIGN FLOORING: FLOORING. BENJAMIN MOORE & CO.: PAINT. MISRA & ASSOCIATES: ARCHITECT OF RECORD. J PADIN & SONS: GENERAL CONTRACTOR.