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What's Up Magazine

Shining Kitchen Design

Jan 12, 2011 06:01PM ● By Anonymous

The room was enclosed on all sides and had a single entrance, near the condo’s front door, leaving the space cramped, dark, and isolated from the rest of the main floor. For years Carol had been tearing out photos of designs, colors, furniture, and accessories. When the couple decided to renovate in 2005, she sorted through her copious collection for ideas. “I pulled out the clippings and realized there was a pattern to what I wanted,” she says. What she discovered was a preference for organic forms, natural materials, and bright spaces configured to welcome friends.


Because the transformation that the couple envisioned was dramatic and potentially overwhelming, she and her husband turned to local architect Ruth Connell for assistance. Asked if she could ever manage taking on this project without a trained professional, Carol emphatically says “no.” Connell created sketches and a blueprint for the kitchen, dining room, and bath, removing walls to create the illusion of a larger first floor. She introduced the Leaches to new materials not available to those outside the design industry. They include the aqua Avonite raised island countertop— the focal point in the new space. The shape of this gravity-defying countertop replicates a ship’s bow. The brilliant surface is a sparkling representation of water—a shimmer is achieved, and the Avonite protected, by raised beveled glass lit from underneath. This part of the island is raised to keep the main cooking and prep area out of sight upon entry. Instead your eyes are drawn to Carol’s crystal collection housed behind iridescent glass doors.

Though Carol was clear from the beginning that she wanted her kitchen to have an “uncluttered, Zen-like” feel, she wasn’t completely confident there would be enough shelf space to hold all her kitchen accoutrements. Creative cabinetry solved this problem. The bottom cabinets house pullout glass drawers that grant easy access to mixing bowls and bakeware as well as commonly used appliances such as toaster, coffee grinder, and blender. The top cabinets have sliding doors, making it easier to maneuver in a smaller space, especially while entertaining. While Carol admits that cooking in her old kitchen was not much fun, the new kitchen has made it more enjoyable and efficient—“ I’m two steps away from anything I might need,” she says. The uncluttered surfaces not only seem natural in the streamlined design, they also allow the texture and reflection of the numerous organic materials to “shine”— one of the primary goals of the renovation.

The high-gloss finish on the cherry cabinetry adds warmth and luster to the contemporary design. The “missile silo,” a large stainless steel cylinder, creates architectural interest while hiding plumbing and electrical components. It stands out in this minimal setting and highlights the other stainless steel items throughout the room, such as light fixtures, drawer pulls, and a custom-made staircase. The staircase balances the curves in the dining room and kitchen with a pattern of simple, straight lines. The colors and textures of the marbled dining room table and countertops complement the fabric used to upholster the dining room chairs and the colors in the glass tiles The cook wanted a kitchen with equipment just steps away. This pantry is hidden behind a panel that slides This backsplash is composed of tiles in muted, earthy tones out of the kitchen’s backsplash. Curves and round shapes are accentuated in the bathroom with an oval sink, circular mirror, and portal above the toilet. These design features suggest a nautical theme in an understated way—this is no cramped galley, but an accessible, bright kitchen afloat in a sea of space.