Showhouse Kitchen Spotlights Design Ideas

Many homes include a couple of good ideas, but few are designed specifically to highlight innovative design concepts. With its unusual Mint Julep-colored appliances, custom-colored cabinets designed to blend with the exterior trim of the home and 7"-thick end-grain butcher block cutting board, the Hamptons Cottages & Gardens Idea House, nestled on Mecox Bay in Water Mill, NY, is full of design surprises.

In a space measuring over 20'x20', designer Robert Bakes of Bakes and Gorman in Southampton, NY, was given plenty of design freedom – though one major restriction applied. The whole house needed to work together – a potential challenge, since the home involved the talents of more than two dozen designers. “So, we chose elements of the house that would be complementary to what we were doing in the kitchen,” Bakes notes.

The kitchen acted as the connector between the mud room and the great room, with a semi-open floor plan. The work space includes the sink area and range, as well as the island unit. On the opposite side is an informal seating area, as well as a coffeemaker, television, oven, microwave, warming drawer and large pantry.

A 96"-wide refrigerator/freezer is situated on the wall closest to the great room, providing access to that room without entering the work space. “You want to put the refrigerator in an area where the kids can get to it without going into any hot areas and without bumping into mom when she’s at the sink or preparing a meal,” he comments.

Architectural Influences

The house itself was a blending of British Arts and Crafts and Hamptons shingle-style homes, and many of the exterior details and architectural elements from other rooms made their way into the kitchen.

One of the ways Bakes incorporated elements from the architecture of the home was with the cabinets. “The color we chose for the cabinets and appliances has a connection with the outside trim,” he notes. The gray/green tone of the exterior trim translated into a custom cabinet color that was hand mixed.

Bakes adds that some of the detailing was also incorporated into the cabinets, which were designed and custom built in his workshop. The cabinets are poplar, with the in-frame cabinet based on the Arts and Crafts style, “with a vertical bead on all of the doors and drawer fronts to give them an element of definition,” he states. “The bead was featured in other areas of the interior and exterior of the house, and we incorporated these design features into smaller elements of the kitchen cabinetry so that these areas just sort of spoke to each other.”

Antique bronze exposed surface-mounted hinges and antique catches and drawer pulls on the doors and drawers complete the look. Antique glass was also used on the doors that flank the range hood.

The island also incorporates the same cabinet style and colors, as well as the antique hardware. It is topped with the Mexican travertine used throughout the room in double thickness, along with a built-in 7"-thick end-grain butcher block cutting board. On the opposite side, seating is provided for those who want to visit or assist the cook with preparation. Below the cutting board, open shelving provides additional storage space. A hand-hammered antique copper undermounted round bar sink is also featured in the island, to be used as a preparation bowl. The sink is teamed with a traditional faucet in an antique bronze finish.

The Mexican travertine used throughout the kitchen is honed to provide a more durable work surface. “It will also gain a patina and antiquing with time, which will complement the kitchen’s overall design,” he explains. “Right now, it is a creamy beige with light veining and multiple colors, and it features a very soft texture.”

The same Mexican travertine is used for the backsplash in a combination of different sized tiles – squares, brick-sized, thin strips. “Then we did a 45-degree angle pattern behind the range to give that area definition,” he adds.

A Touch of Mint

In the L-shaped work area, a Viking dual-fuel range is flanked by cabinets, with a traditional pot filler in antique bronze featured in the backsplash. Turning the corner, an apron-front sink is positioned under the window, flanked on each side by a 24" dishwasher.

All of the sinks are sourced from a supplier in Mexico, according to Bakes, and are antique copper. “The farmhouse sink is 30" wide, and will gain a patina over time,” he offers. The apron-front sink is also matched with a traditional faucet in an antique bronze finish, along with a soap dispenser and pull-out spray.

On the third wall, a wall-mounted oven, microwave and warming drawer are featured.

“All of the major exposed appliances, including the range, wall ovens, 30" warming drawer, refrigerator and dishwashers, are from Viking, in one of the company’s signature colors – Mint Julep,” remarks Bakes. “Viking is the only company that offers a range of signature colors. It gives you a lot of flexibility to offer something different, instead of just good old stainless steel.”

On the third wall, Bakes also incorporated a recently introduced built-in coffeemaker from Ariston Appliances. “It’s a much shallower machine than previous coffeemakers, which allows designers to incorporate it into wall cabinets,” he reports. “From a design standpoint, it gives you loads more flexibility.”

In addition to the window over the sink, a window on the opposite side of the kitchen – which includes a window seat below – provides the room with an abundance of natural light. Over the island is an antique light fixture that resembles an old boat lamp – a bell shaped light that resembles a boat cabin window, according to Bakes. Secondary lighting is provided by small spots on the ceiling, as well as undercabinet lighting throughout the room.

In contrast to all of the light, a wide plank wood floor was stained in a dark ebony shade to add overall drama to the space.