NEW YORK, NY— Many kitchen and bath designers can relate to the time-crunch that a busy work life can create. So, when a client came to designer Kobi Aharon and co-designer Laura Husni in need of a more efficient kitchen in the galley space, the dynamic duo came to the rescue.
The pair – both of New York, NY-based Urban Homes, Inc. – developed a clear objective: create a functional kitchen that would offer easy upkeep and a trendy appearance, while suiting the client’s profession and lifestyle.
“The kitchen was designed using a modern theme,” Husni explains. “Being a busy investment banker, the client was looking for an updated kitchen that followed the latest trends. Since the rest of the condo presented a modern and sophisticated appearance, the kitchen had to be remodeled to blend in with its surroundings.”
She continues: “The major challenge was to design a space that incorporated all of the client’s high expectations while eliminating all of the wasted space and dysfunctional organization. And, that had to be done while remaining within the presented budget.”
Overhauling a Dated Space
According to Husni, a complete overhaul of the pre-existing kitchen was imperative to the success of the design.
“The original space was enclosed with walls, creating a feeling of seclusion in the plain white and dimly lit area,” she explains.
“In addition, freestanding and outdated appliances needed to be replaced.”
Storage space, functionality and organization all desperately needed to be addressed, as well. The amount of storage incorporated into the space was determined by the kitchen’s size.
Removal of one of the walls was the first step in the renovation. Eliminating the wall created space for a peninsula island, which served as a room divider and eating area while it offered extra storage and counter space.
Built-in appliances were incorporated into the cabinetry, and upper cabinets were extended closer to the ceiling than in the previous design.
“The primary functional improvements made to the space were the inclusion of the built-in appliances, extra storage and counter space provided by the peninsula and more efficient cabinets and pantry units. We also created a more organized layout,” Husni offers. “We made sure that updated accessories and cabinets filled every corner in order to eliminate any dead space.”
Squares and Triangles
Just as Times Square is the heart of Manhattan, the small but effective work triangle serves as the heart of this kitchen. The triangle was formed by placing the Jenn-Air range several feet away from the Kindred sink, which is directly across from the Sub-Zero refrigerator. A faucet from KWC America complements the sink, while a Miele dishwasher serves as a divider between the sink and range.
In keeping with the trendy, sleek look the client desired, Aharon and Husni selected Aster Cucine “Trendy” cabinets for the base and upper units.
“Wood base cabinets with horizontal grain were placed on either sides of the stainless steel appliances to create an elongated effect in the kitchen. The same wood cabinets were used in the peninsula directly across from the long wall,” Husni explains.
“The finishes and cabinetry chosen were selected to both blend with the surroundings and stand out as major design elements,” she remarks.
“The sophisticated appearance of the walnut slab door featured on the lower cabinets slightly mimicked the Brazilian teak flooring,” she adds.
“The base units were accented with slender stainless steel hardware and filled with functional accessories for organization,” Husni reports.
The upper cabinets also presented a lighter and sleeker vision for the layout, while aluminum edge-banded laminate and back-painted glass formed the double-stacked upper units.
A tall pantry unit with frosted glass doors provides added storage, and puts a halt on the extended central walkway of the kitchen, according to Husni.
Old ‘Blue Eyes’
Aesthetically, the cabinetry is complemented by granite “Blue Eyes” countertops, Husni notes.
“Created from bits of metallic blue, randomly splattered in a speckled mix of grays, the ‘Blue Eyes’ granite countertop serves as the finishing element in the kitchen,” she describes. “Flowing continuously down the side to meet the floor, this unique granite appears to be a mixture of gray and neutral tones. However, when any form of light illuminates the surface, fascinating little blue spots sparkle.”
Additional touches include miniature stainless steel subway tiles, which were pieced together along the backsplash, as well as along portions of the wall up to the ceiling, resulting in a feeling of endless spaciousness, Husni reports.
Lights Over Broadway
The stainless steel lighting fixtures from W.A.C. Lighting also played a critical role in the success of the design, Husni points out.
“The lighting created an open and expanded feeling in the kitchen, and supported the aesthetics for the modern appearance,” she describes.
To that end, Husni reports that the main source of light comes from the stainless steel track that runs down the central strip of the kitchen.
“The powerful illumination from the track lighting not only highlights every detail of the upper cabinets, wall hood and backsplash tiles, but also provides general lighting for the central portion of the kitchen,” she says.
Husni points out that under-cabinet lighting creates reflections on the countertop and stainless steel backsplash tile, while it doubles as detailed task lighting for food preparation.
Likewise, she notes that pendants hanging from a canopy-like dropped ceiling over the peninsula enhance the blue speckles hidden in the granite.
“The pendant lighting also helps the peninsula [with visual relief] by acting as a space divider,” she concludes.
Husni notes that all of the elements incorporated in the kitchen – the Aster Cucine cabinetry, the openness of the peninsula, the stainless steel appliances and the backsplash – are key to the overall aesthetics of the finished product.
“The appliances, cabinets, lighting and finishes chosen for the kitchen created the modern and trendy appearance requested by the client,” she states.
“The client wanted the kitchen to feel less secluded while it offered the ability to entertain, allowing for a lot of social interaction,” Husni points out. “Transforming the enclosed space into one with a large opening provided a more enjoyable feeling.”
The focal point of the design is, without a doubt, the peninsula, Husni exclaims, “because it provides the most significant improvement to the kitchen both functionally and aesthetically, engaging the mind of anyone who views the space.”
For more about this project, click here.