November 18, 2013

A modern kitchen design can boast more than a trendy aesthetic. Designer Angelica Henry of Angelica Henry Design encountered such a wish in a formerly small and Southwestern-style kitchen. The brief: “Modern, minimal, low maintenance, hyper-functional and visually striking,” said Henry. “They wanted it all in a kitchen that would serve well for daily cooking as well as entertaining.”

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As avid cooks, the low ceilings and outdated kitchen did not align with the owner’s hope for an ergonomic space. The design team started from scratch, gutting the room and putting up new walls, which now offered space for two huge lineal footage runs of cabinetry. With a gray and white palette, the matte laminate-finished cabinets provided the foundation for a monochromatic design.

“The gray color for the cabinetry gave the design a very linear look,” said Allen Rosenthal of Linear Fine Woodworking, who served as the cabinet designer and fabricator.

Complying with the linearity of the cabinetry, all of the appliances had to appear to seamlessly integrate into the cabinetry. Stainless fillers went over and under the appliances so they all lined up without any visible fillers. The Caesarstone quartz countertops around the perimeter and on the countertops allowed for the use of integral sinks and served as a low-maintenance material.

“This outer island is supported by steel to look like it’s floating. This would have been simple, if we didn’t have quartz countertops,” commented Rosenthal. To keep the tops from sagging, hidden steel supports hold up the expansive surface. “The goal [for the space] was to have a horizontal open area with stainless backs and no supports for it,” explained Rosenthal. “The cool, floating outer island makes the kitchen still look light in design.”

In keeping with this idea, the fluorescent lighting fixtures in aluminum boxes “help to give off great light in the space and play off of the overall geometry happening,” explained Henry. Halogen puck lights in a light bridge and at the top of the cabinetry create an artistic lighting effect and highlight the stainless steel. Color-corrected fluorescent bulbs with filters provide the majority of the kitchen’s lighting. “It lit the kitchen well without having shadowed areas,” said Rosenthal.

To attain the goal of a hyper-functional design, the kitchen is laid out in a triangle. “This puts everything in reach when you are cooking,” explained Rosenthal. “Everything has a rhyme and reason for being where they are.”

The fridges, the cooktop and the sinks are all reachable without having to move around the large island. The bread warmer is on the outer island close to the serving area, while the fridge and freezer are near the master bedroom hallway and the sitting area.

The only feature without a culinary-related purpose is a large, open unit on the side of the room. “This was to break up the look of the kitchen and didn’t serve any utility,” explained Rosenthal. With all of the kitchen cabinetry now available, the additional storage was not necessary but instead served as a focal point and an art piece simultaneously.

“Good design is where there isn’t one thing standing out that makes it look right; it’s where everything feels right,” said Rosenthal. “I think that is how this kitchen looks.”

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A small kitchen becomes an entertaining haven with classic elegance