August 28, 2020
The last thing a busy and dynamic family needs is a drab kitchen in which to work. For one family of four, their kitchen not only felt inefficient but also disjointed and dark. Designer Tamara Hubinsky came on board to create a more functional and updated space.
“My vision was to bring joy, color and brightness into the kitchen,” said Hubinsky, who is the founder of New York City-based Tamara Hubinsky Interiors. “My specific goals included opening the space, increasing light and creating flexibility for how the family uses the kitchen.”
Making the Layout More Efficient
The original kitchen was separated from the rest of this apartment’s open floor plan by two counter-height cabinets with suspended ceiling units and an extra-high bar divider on one of the two islands. In addition, the ceiling over the kitchen was dropped two feet lower than other areas in the apartment. The kitchen was illuminated with outdated recessed lights and limited undercabinet strips and lacked natural light.
Hubinsky’s main challenge was the need to work within the existing floor plan; the clients did not want to have to refinish the wood floors throughout the apartment, so the flooring could not be altered. In addition, this apartment is part of a multi-unit building, so some vents and pipes could not be moved.
She started by raising the ceiling over most of the kitchen, which immediately made the space feel more open. The kitchen sink, dishwasher and trash receptablewere moved to the center working island, and the second island closer to the living area was brought down to one level and fitted with wine storage.
“The main, center island is a double-depth island,” said the designer. “One side has three columns of drawers, with space for a variety of extra plates and less-used kitchen supplies.”
A corner of the kitchen was turned into a corner banquette, complete with storage and stylish open shelving and lit by a large window.
“I thought the existing layout did not utilize the window, and this was a missed opportunity,” said Hubinsky, adding that this window used to be partially hidden from the kitchen behind a storage cabinet. “The new corner banquette is designed around that window.”
Because this banquette was added – as well as a desk along the banquette wall toward the living area – seating was not incorporated into the new islands, which helps with traffic flow in the new space.
A Bright and Cheerful Palette
In contrast to the kitchen’s former dark cherry cabinetry, Hubinsky used a soft white – in a tone that matched the walls – on most of the custom cabinetry, which causes light to bounce through the space. The two islands were done in slate blue green to draw the eye into the space.
“Color wise, I focused on layering some interesting blues – slates, teals and handsome navy – and warm whites and grays to connect with the other spaces in the apartment I had previously designed,” said Hubinsky, adding that these were repeat clients and she had worked on areas of this apartment before.
Throughout this space, the countertops are white quartzite, a favorite of the designer’s when it comes to light but interesting stone. Quartzite is also more durable and easier to maintain than other stones but offers the movement of a more fragile material. The soft blue, subway tile backsplash adds softness and subtle contrast to the white cabinets and helps reflect light because of its glossy finish.
Hubinsky added an additional pop of color and texture at the banquette, which has a dotted blue wallcovering on one wall, and the seating is upholstered with solid blue on the bottom and a patterned blue on the back.
“I love everything about the banquette,” said Hubinsky, who used AutoCAD to complete this project. “As soon as I saw the original space, I itched to take advantage of the large window along the side of the kitchen. The final design is a wonderful celebration of materials, color, functionality and comfort.”
Designer: Tamara Hubinsky, Tamara Hubinsky Interiors
Photographer: Alex Staniloff
Countertop: ABC Worldwide Stone
Custom Banquette Upholstery: Knoll Lux
Hood & Range: Blue Star
Linear Pendant & Wall Sconce: Juniper Design
Plumbing Fixtures: Franke & Newport Brass
Pendants: Roll and Hill
Tile: Artistic Tile
Wallcovering: Farrow and Ball
Wine Chiller: Sub-Zero