Tuesday, August 3, 2010

as seen on... HouseBeautiful.com

A Gentleman's Handsome Kitchen was featured as part of House Beautiful's Kitchen month. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase this total kitchen renovation completed for a serious chef. First featured on TheKitchn, this renovation was all about efficiency of action but luxury of choice.

The modified galley kitchen's odd placement (right inside the front door) meant two possible strategies: hide it, or flaunt it. So I presented the owner, a deft chef and gentlemen's gentleman, with two choices: Go dark, with finishes that look like fitted furniture to play up its "gentleman's club" potential and play down its "kitchen-ness," or stick to a truer Butler's pantry look. For its more functional aesthetic, and to quell his fear that darker cabinets would eat up limited lighting, the Butler did it. But to ease the open plan kitchen into its genteel surroundings, we dialed the typical bright Butler's white down to a "golden vanilla."

The keys to the success of making the visual most of this compact kitchen? A panel-front, cabinet depth Sub-Zero, a monochromatic color palette, repeated metals (brushed finishes in nickel pulls and stainless steel stove, sink, faucet and existing dishwasher), stone countertops that combine the vanillas and metal-grays, and a slate-look porcelain floor tile that gives an earthy anchor to the stainless.

On the two-tiered island, two stones strut their stuff: at counter height, the same granite used for the other countertops, but at bar height, a darker granite, to better hide red wine mishaps, and transition from "working kitchen" to "formal dining." Below the bar, off-the-shelf prefab corbels seem pre-war appropriate, and give the island a furniture feel.

From a distance, the backsplash, a crackle-finish American-crafted subway tile from Artistic Tile, melts like butter into the cabinets. Up closer, it catches the light and gives the kitchen an aged grace that belies its recent facelift.

Surrounding this culinary stage, a deceptive proscenium: Designtex's silk-look vinyl wallcovering, the perfect backdrop for the client's classic oil paintings, and another nod to the stainless.

The renovation made up for upscale choices by keeping major appliance placement, water line, and gas lines intact.

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