June 10, 2013

The kitchen of an upscale condo in Philadelphia features seamless cabinetry with an exquisite finish, which designer Anna Maria Vona of Carmana Designs says is definitely the wow factor of the project. Complementary crystal cabinetry serves as a backdrop to the homeowner’s display pieces. Photo credit: Barry Halkin Photography, Philadelphia.

Anna Maria and Carmen Vona – the husband and wife team of Carmana Designs – were in charge of the kitchen design for a new-build condo in the upscale Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of Philadelphia. The homeowner, who is also an interior designer and decorator, wanted the space to elicit a natural theme, showcase her glass and crystal display pieces and serve as a space highly conducive to entertaining. 

“The entire design came from her – we were just the puppets making tweaks based on her lifestyle,” said Anna Maria. “She was hands-off when it came to the technical stuff, but she was good at putting the colors and textures together.”

The nature theme is displayed through bronze colored tree trunks displayed under the glass-topped table in the adjacent dining room, bird-themed wallpaper and a blue/green-colored, glass-tiled backsplash. The blue/green-stained, eye-catching cabinetry features a high-gloss, urethane finish that is used on high-end sports cars. The easy-to-clean finish is also chip and scratch resistant.

The kitchen and adjoining dining room were designed as entertainment spaces for the homeowner, who likes to interact with guests as much as possible. Recessed halogen bulbs were used throughout the space, as the homeowner doesn’t like the harsh blue light of LEDs.

“The finish is the ‘wow’ factor in the kitchen – it’s absolutely gorgeous,” said Anna Maria. “It shifts with the light coming in – almost like an opal. It picks up on the colors that surround it, so during the day it’s more blue, and in the evening it is more gray.”

Another stand out of the project is the seamless integration of the anigre veneer cabinets, which Anna Maria says offers a cohesive look. Polished chrome hardware accents the cabinetry, which is complemented by nearby crystal cabinetry used to display the homeowner’s lovely serving pieces. Because the cabinetry goes all the way to the ceiling, step stools and kickplates were incorporated into the design to access hard-to-reach items. The kitchen’s center island was designed to allow the homeowner to converse with guests while she is cooking, and the adjacent dining room plays nicely into the entertainment theme.

A glimpse of the kitchen and it’s blue/green-colored, glass tile backsplash can be seen from the condo’s living room.

One challenge that needed to be overcome was a lack of blue dye that was mixed into the cabinetry paint to achieve the perfect color. After the painter finished the island, he ran out of the stain, and it was hard to find as it was sourced in Germany. As it turned out, the vendor was not carrying that particular color anymore, so the designers had to find someone who had already bought it and were willing to sell it. After a reformulation of the stain and the respraying of the entire kitchen – 81 hours later, the problem was solved.

“Our client was very understanding because she is in our same line of work,” said Anna Maria. “We have forged a great relationship and mutual respect because we all worked together toward one common goal.”

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