July 10, 2015
Flow and function go hand in hand, as one Bronxville, N.Y., home redesign showed. Lacking square footage from the start, this tight kitchen only had one way in and out and was ill suited for this busy family with active children.
“The whole thing was a mess,” said designer Jason Landau of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.-based Amazing Spaces. “The biggest issue was space; they could barely even fit a kitchen table.”
While working with an architect to expand the kitchen and add a mudroom and an entranceway from the driveway, Landau also suggested changing the entire flow of the home. Originally, the only way to go from one side of the home to the other was through the foyer. By moving the powder room and opening up a secondary traffic pattern to the dining room – which switched spots with the family room – the team made the home more livable for its owners.
“The first challenge was repurposing the flow of the house to make more sense,” said Landau. “The second challenge was trying to figure out how to integrate their TV into the island so that it worked for the family room.”
The family room, situated in the previous dining space at the front of the home, now is a part of an open space and connects with the kitchen. The only way to make a television fit was to store it inside the island itself.
“The island is multifunctional in that one end holds the TV and the other the main sink,” said Landau, pointing out how the television fits inside of the cabinetry, faces the living room couch and can be hidden by folding doors. “There’s a raised area for stools, a shallow cabinet to the right for spices and even a printer to support the desk area.”
The printer ended up inside of the island because the only other available space was the pantry cabinets, which the homeowners wanted to use only for food storage. Made of walnut, these identical tall cabinets frame the doorway that leads into the butler’s pantry.
“There’s not a lot of wall space to work with for appliance needs,” explained Landau. “We were able to engineer the design in such a way that I was able to get those pantries in for additional storage, and we wanted to add a little bit of furniture quality and make those feel different from the kitchen.”
In addition to providing for storage, the pantry cabinets help break up the otherwise open space and contrast against the white Shaker cabinets on the opposite wall. These cabinets went along with the client’s desire for a white kitchen, but the most personal aspect of the design started with a fish tank in the dining space.
“They used to have a saltwater tank, and when they saw one in my office, they asked whether they could somehow incorporate another into the design,” explained the designer. “Once we locked in on that, the other watery tones came in. We embellished on it being in the kitchen.”
All of the equipment for the tank runs down to the basement, so none of the technical clutter winds up in the kitchen space. The specialty lighting the reef-style tank requires repeats above the island in nautical-style pendants with LEDs. In addition to a blue glass tile backsplash, the top cabinets on the sides of the hood also echo the fish tank motif with ripped glass.
“We wanted to lighten the kitchen and give it that watery feel, but we didn’t want to see totally into the cabinet,” he added.
Also as a nod to the fish tank, the granite countertop boasts a deep, leathery texture with a hint of blue. The wavy quality of this one-off granite suits the theme while offering a mess-free, easily managed counter space.
“The countertop is like foaming sea water,” described Landau. “That’s probably my favorite element of the design, and it’s always fun to bring something different into a kitchen.”
Butler’s Pantry: Levant
Cabinet Hardware: Top Knobs
Fish Tank: Greenich Aquarier
Granite: North Sea, Walker Zanger
Light Fixtures: Hudson Valley Lighting
Light Fixture Over Table: Arteriors
Pantry Cabinets: Levant
Tile: AKDO Glass Tile