January 15, 2021

They say the third time’s the charm, but in the case of a home renovation on the North Shore of Long Island, the homeowners interviewed four kitchen designers to find Ellen Lopez, CKD, creative director and owner, EL Design Studio, who proved to be the ideal fit for the project. The designer experienced immediate synergy with the client and the project manager, Pam Atkinson of JATO Builders Inc. Lopez credits her understanding of the client’s desire for what she called “coastal elegance” with securing the job.

By joining the project during the early days of construction of the new-build home, the designer was able to remap the flow of the spaces to create a coastal kitchen style layout that was more functional and still took advantage of the Long Island Sound views. By the time she got involved, all the kitchen appliances, lighting and much of the tile had been chosen, and those had to be incorporated seamlessly.

“One of my strengths is understanding space and how to make a space flow and how to make it work to the best of its ability,” said Lopez. Multiple kitchen floor plans and her willingness to keep going until everything was just right, resulted in growing trust from the client and contractor. “The more we talked, the more we worked it all out. It was one of the best creative synergies I’ve encountered in a long time.”

A Coastal Kitchen Style for Cooking
This whole-house project began with the kitchen, an area of the home that held particular importance for the client, who takes her cooking seriously. Lopez faced two significant spatial challenges – the sheer number of pre-selected appliances and the vast windows that celebrated the water outside but left little in the way of usable wall space.

To get the work triangle to fit within the National Kitchen & Bath Association guidelines of distances and clearances that allow for maneuverability and functionality, Lopez got creative with cabinetry and appliance placement.

The main sink sits in a short row of cabinets and offers a view through the window. A paneled dishwasher is next to the sink. The freestanding range went in the island, where a smaller sink also has an adjacent paneled dishwasher. A long side wall with an opening to the great room features deep cabinets and a 36-in. paneled refrigerator. The designer decided to move the 18-in. paneled freezer column to the far side of the opening, so it is not included in the working triangle. Two wall ovens, a microwave and a coffee station were situated in various spaces among the ceiling-height wall cabinetry.

“I had to figure out a way to make it all work, elegantly,” said Lopez. “In the end, it became a very small work triangle – in a good way. It’s functional.”

Adding to the elegant mood, the palette of soft, natural hues pay homage to the setting of the home and the shore that is so visible from every angle of the kitchen, and Lopez continued with this palette throughout the home.

“This is the North Shore of Long Island,” she said. “There are a lot of natural grasses; it’s not very flowery. It has its own unique color palette.” Her goal was to keep the palette similar to the landscape and bring that in in a subtle manner. “I wanted it to be elegant and sophisticated yet keep it warm and relaxed. It was a real challenge to achieve both.”

To honor the water, the designer chose a quartz surface with movement for the countertop and backsplash. Likening it to a watercolor painting, she noted that the veining softens the look of the hard surface and carries the eye around the space, ending at the dramatic lighting fixture above the table.

Pantry Perfection
A mirrored hood floating above the island previews the mirrored door of the pantry that is situated across from it and allows for water views even when a person’s back is to the windows. Behind the door, the walk-in pantry mimics the style of the kitchen. It includes the same cabinetry with different door styles and a complementary color palette. Although the pantry is hidden by a door, Lopez did not have to hold back on incorporating high-end features.

“The client wanted it to be as beautiful as the rest of the space,” she said.

The countertop is stained ash, and the upper cabinets are a mixture of open shelves and glass with chicken wire. Behind the closed cabinet doors below, pull-out wire baskets provide easy organization.

The home’s fresh color palette continued into the laundry room. Cabinet colors were carried in from the pantry because the two spaces are near each other, and some cabinet doors feature the same glass and chicken wire combination.

“In this space, it’s all about attention to detail,” said Lopez.

The client wanted a side-by-side washer and dryer and a television to watch while ironing. To maximize space, the ironing board was hidden in a top drawer, and the television was placed high on the wall above the washer and dryer.

Lopez chose the whitest quartz for the countertops and used it for the windowsills and a piece that hides the outlets above the washer and dryer. To obtain an 18-in. farmhouse sink, she had one custom made from the same quartz and was able to add a drainboard on the side.

“It looks fresh and clean like a laundry room should,” said the designer.

Master Bath Mood
When Lopez joined the project, the tile for the primary bathroom had already been chosen, and it was her job to bring multiple patterns together. She did that through cabinetry and color choices that maintained the elegant theme of the home.

Choosing beechwood for the vanity and makeup table, Lopez custom designed the towers that flank the vanity. She lined the doors with the antiqued glass seen in other rooms, then added a die-cut ogee pattern inspired by the floor tile.

“We were trying to give the client as much elegance as she wanted, as well as find solutions for storage,” she said.

The pattern continues in a larger scale on the closet doors adjacent to the bathroom, while the hammered metal tub coordinates with the mirrored cabinets.

Curves and Waves
Lopez created several custom door patterns throughout the home, and one can be seen on the barndoor that opens onto the ensuite bathroom of one of the guest rooms. With a wave-like pattern, the doors reiterate the home’s coastal theme. Here too, the tile had been selected, and Lopez was tasked with pulling together the crisp look.The white inset cabinetry has a traditional feel, but the gray quartz countertops with white veining offer movement and feature slight curving along the edge above the drawers. Similarly, the toe kick valance has a gentle curve.

“Those details were necessary to balance with the floral marble pattern on the walls,” said the designer.

Chrome faucets and polished hardware complete the elegant theme here – a look that is in keeping with all areas of this sophisticated coastal home.

-By Carrie Whitney

Source List

Designer: Ellen Lopez, CKD, Creative Director and Owner, EL Design Studio
Photographer: Josh Goetz Photography

: Cambria
Bar Stools: Design Master
Cabinet Hardware: Rocky Mountain Hardware
Cabinets: EL Design Studio
Cooktop, Dishwasher, Microwave, Ovens, Range & Refrigerator: Thermador
Countertop: Cambria & Grothouse
Faucets: Rohl
Hood: Built by Birchcraft kitchen, finished by Grothouse
Recessed Lighting: WAC
SINKS: Kohler & Native trails
Window Treatments: Hunter Douglas
Windows/Doors: Marvin

Countertop: Cambria
Cabinets: EL Design Studio
Hardware: Rocky Mountain Hardware
Sink: Cambria
Tile: Daltile
Washer/Dryer: Maytag
Window Treatments: Hunter Douglas
Windows: Marvin

Cabinet Hardware
: Rocky Mountain Hardware
Countertop: Cambria
Faucets: Watermark
Lighting: Schonbek
Mirrors: Robern
Paint: Benjamin Moore
Sinks: Kohler
Tile: Ferguson Custom Marble and Tile
Tub: Americh
Vanity: EL Design Studio

Cabinet Hardware
: Rocky Mountain Hardware
Cabinet Paint: Benjamin Moore
Cabinets & Vanities: EL Design Studio
Countertop: Cambria
Faucet: Kallista
Mirrors: Suffolk Glass with Custom Frame
Sinks: Kohler
Tile: Ferguson Custom Marble and Tile

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