Short Hills, NJ — Meeting clients’ expectations can lead a designer through some uncharted design waters; Larry Duggan of New York, NY-based LD Design, was lucky enough to be matched up with a client whose design aesthetic closely mirrored his own.
“The guideline I had to work within was that the spaces I worked on should integrate seamlessly with the other already remodeled spaces within her home,” Duggan explains. “This was actually very easy, since her style is very much like my own. Her house looks like a Holly Hunt showroom, and the rooms I was asked to do needed to blend with this design aesthetic.”
It was a serendipitous pairing: Duggan was referred by an interior designer friend who had worked on the home, but who does not specialize in kitchens or baths. The balance of work would include gut renovations of the kitchen, an adjoining powder room, a full-size guest bath and walk-in closet.
Duggan says: “All four spaces were taken back to the studs and completely redone. The original dimensions of each space were not changed, although we carved out a full bath and closet from a space that was originally just the guest bath. This kitchen, in particular, was poorly laid out with a lot of useless space.”
The kitchen, like the other spaces Duggan would redesign, was a holdout from the 1980s and was woefully mismatched with the rest of the client’s home. The 250-sq.-ft. space, while tight, didn’t present a problem for the designer.
“I primarily work in Manhattan and, because of that, I am adept at designing small kitchens. I’m accustomed to making every square inch useable. In Manhattan this kitchen would be considered quite large,” says Duggan.
Duggan created a center axis in the room, which included a larger opening to the dining room with pocket doors. “The axis also includes the center island and refrigerator. The greatest challenge to overcome was creating a cross-axis that includes the new larger window, cooktop, island hood, sink and banquette. Aligning all of these elements created harmony in the space – it makes sense,” he says.
Duggan began by examining the interiors already finished throughout the home. “The clean lines, white walls and dark wood floors of the existing interior inspired my design for the rooms I was commissioned to do. However, the exterior is in a more traditional shingle style with mullioned windows. Therefore, a small two-paned window in the kitchen was replaced by five mullioned windows that match the other windows of the house.”
The focal point of the kitchen is the new windows and the placement of the 36" cooktop and island hood from Miele centered in front of those windows, which Duggan calls “unexpected.” The wall surrounding the new window is clad in acid-etched mirror glass.
A juxtaposition of wood floor and light colors from the existing interiors repeats in the kitchen, with a random-plank oak floor stained dark in half Ebony and half Jacobean, while the walls are painted a bright white. The contemporary cabinetry, full of clean lines, repeat a bright white that also appears on the island. The countertop is Luce di Luna quartzite from Stone Source, a bright white with pale gray veining.
The layout is conventional: it is essentially a rectangle, bordered by the dining room at one end and an attached garage at the other. Duggan notes that within that shape, it is the ability of that space to provide multiple functions that makes it special: “I think what makes this kitchen special is that it functions so well as a place to store, prepare and cook meals, a place to congregate and entertain, and a place to work,” he says.
The congregating takes place either at the island, which has room for two to sit and take a casual meal, or at the banquette.
“The banquette is what my client loves most about her new kitchen,” Duggan adds. “Since she occasionally works from home, she sits at the banquette with her computer and coffee in the morning with the sun streaming in through her new window.” The U-shaped banquette bench is covered with fabric by Calvin Klein from Kravet and has seating for five.