CHICAGO— This year’s Kitchen/Bath Industry Show displayed more green design than ever before, but no display took that theme more literally than the 2008 Design Showcase, sponsored by Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications and Merillat. The cabinetmaker constructed this year’s Design Showcase right in its booth, where visitors could experience the kitchen/mudroom/master bath combo firsthand
Designer Ingrid Leess was the principal designer of the space, and worked in collaboration with Mervyn Kaufman, project director/writer for Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications, Paul Radoy, project manager for Merillat, and Nellie Ondrovick, an interior designer for the cabinetmaker, to make her green-tinted ideas into reality.
Color and Contrast
Leess, of New Canaan, CT-based Ingrid Leess Interior Design, started with color as her guide. In a chance visit to CaesarStone last year, the firm’s Apple Martini color caught Leess’ eye. As a result, it appears on the perimeter of the kitchen, one in an array of vibrant greens.
“Green is the color that sets the tone,” she says. “There are a variety of shades; none of them match, but all are complementary.”
Mixing greens with an emphasis on organic shapes and a variety of materials, the designer was able to create, in her words, a “fresh” transitional style.
“I knew in advance some of the materials we’d have to work with,” she adds. “I knew there would be stone and so I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be interesting to give the space the feel of a reclaimed barn, to give it the look of being built around an existing stone wall?’”
The faux stone wall, which is Andante Fieldledge from Eldorado Stone, encircles a dining area with a banquette constructed of Laredo maple in Dove, part of Merillat’s Masterpiece series. The banquette is positioned beneath a fixed, circular 42-3/4" diameter Pella window. The window is meant to flood the room, and in particular the eating area, with natural light.
Leess says there’s a lot to love about the juxtaposing of texture and color in the space.
“I like the mix of the gloss of the tile and the roughness of the stone,” she says, noting that even the flooring, Cappuccino oak laminate from Alloc, has colorful nuances worth noting. “It carries the reclaimed barn idea – the plums and browns and white sort of running the grain. It looks like an old floor that might have been painted at one time but that’s worn down over time.”
Leess’ penchant for repetition can be seen in the repeating styles of the aluminum hardware on the Merrilat cabinetry, which mirrors the appliance pulls.
“The repetition of shape, as well as color and texture, threads the room together,” the designer says. “And it extends continuity between the kitchen, bath and mudroom.”
Ease of Use
The space was designed with a middle-aged couple in mind as the homeowners.
“It’s supposed to be a second home,” says Leess. “We imagined it to be like a weekend house, a place where the couple could come to entertain family and friends.”
With entertaining in mind, functionality was key. Two work zones abut one another: from refrigerator to sink to ovens, and from ovens to sink to cooktop. With a suite of appliances from Gaggenau including wall ovens, dishwasher, refrigerator-freezer and built-in coffeemaker, the “second home” lacks none of the comforts of the first.
Contained within the cabinets are a host of pull-outs, roll-outs and lazy susan amenities. Undercabinet lighting adds to the ease of use, as does the pull-out, lighted linen storage beneath the banquette.
Leess also included some areas of visual interest in the wall cabinetry, using Silver Screen translucent glass doors over stemware storage closets. When lit, whatever is in the cabinets creates a silhouette against the glass.