Contemporary Kitchen Reflects Designers' Vision
By John Filippelli
Burke, along with his wife, Linda, and designer Matthew Mawer, worked to create an eclectic, casual and contemporary design for the Burke's home, complete with a floor plan suited to their active, flexible lifestyle.
Though they were facing rigid height restrictions and water line setbacks from city ordinances, the designers incorporated a three-car garage and an autonomous living unit for Linda's father within the layout. Their solution to the challenge of tight quarters was "less rooms with more open, flexible space," Burke states. Since the active areas were open, flexible and relatively small, furniture was kept to a minimum.
Calling the kitchen the focal point of his 'Great Room' design, Burke points out that the kitchen and Great Room encompass 43 lineal feet, with the kitchen ceiling reaching 9'3". The space features a slew of 'spec' home materials and product lines.
Burke is quick to point out that "designing and building efficiently is as much about time as it is about cost, and as much about ingenuity as it is about expensive selections." Citing his belief that a large price tag does not necessarily look and feel expensive or dramatic, Burke defines his design style as "the ability to take materials and put them together in such a way that is unique, different and not being done in the general marketplace."
Infusing these elements allowed Burke to create a space that he succinctly describes as "more comfortable than elegant, more industrial than traditional residences, and more 'artsy' than architectural designs." He adds, "Every inch of cabinetry, tile, slate and molding as well as the placement of every appliance and light fixture must appear to be part of a grand plan of simplicity and efficiency."
Millenia-styled cabinetry from Canyon Creek, complete with Centennial Shaker doors and a Whisper White/Slate Gray patina, is one of the many highlights of the space, he remarks. Using well-designed cabinetry for efficiency and function was critical, because of the limited amount of space available for the active areas.
Burke chose to run the 43 lineal feet of continuous cabinetry from the phone niche to the pantry storage space and the Sub-Zero refrigerator, then to the counter and Dacor range and hood to the China hutch display, which features a pull-out drawer space for table linens. The kitchen base cabinets were painted slate gray to contrast with the T&G natural maple floor, Burke notes.
All of the other cabinet doors are wide-rail shaker style, designed to blend with the prevalent geometric styling. The slight Whisper White allows the good grain to add softness with a hint of texture, Burke explains. The white also worked with the color of the porcelain tile countertops, the honed slate backsplashes and geometric breakfast bar in the great room.
As he notes, all of the kitchen cabinets feature upgraded, full-extension hardware and roll-out shelves for easy access. The cabinetry features stainless steel restoration hardware, as well as a hand-formed cherry-light valance and horizontal detailing.
Storage drawers for CDs and videos are contained in the base cabinetry that meets the sculptural fireplace with honed slate. Jerusalem gold limestone and corrugated metal are anchored by the A.V. Cabinet, and add to the contemporary feel of the design.
Describing the importance of storage for the design, Burke explains, "The spaces and location of working and storage areas are carefully planned, both for our 'spec' homes and for our own home. We exhaust all means to achieve these goals."
A wealth of high-end appliances were used for the design, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator with maple door panels and a Dacor 36" commercial-style cooktop, both of which blend comfortably with the design theme, according to Burke. A stainless steel hood fan from Vent-A-Hood gives the space a contemporary feel, while two Bosch stainless steel dishwashers, a 36" stainless steel Franke sink and a commercial-style stainless steel faucet from Kohler Co. complete the look.