This week, I went behind the scenes on a project and created a collaboration to learn about this Upper East Side kitchen’s journey from a meager kitchen to the extraordinary chef’s workspace. After the owners of this house came to Sweeten to modernize their kitchen, we introduced them to the experts from Sweeten Lauren and Adam, an architecture and interior design duo, and called Sweeten Alan’s expert, a general contractor, to reimagine kitchen storage, function and feel. The results are so easy on the eye that you might be forgiven for missing out on the simple design tricks hidden behind these lacquered cabinets and under those gleaming Calacatta counters.
Sweeten experts Lauren and Adam got the message loud and clear from the owners of this condo: This is a family that loves to cook and has planned to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Although they were early restorers, the homeowners had very thoughtful and specific ideas about storage and workspace needs and conveyed a desire, above all, for functionality and durability.
Lauren and Adam worked on designs that featured five clever design tricks, each expressly designed to increase the kitchen’s storage capacity, locate critical cooking and prep tools exactly where they would be most useful, and play with depth and depth perception. width in a room that may not be physically enlarged. These design ideas are simple enough to incorporate into any kitchen remodel and are especially important for small space dwellers.
1. Load larger pieces in advance
In a galley kitchen or a narrow hallway, it can be tempting to place cabinets and furniture evenly across the space (or push bulkier pieces away from the entry point). Instead, Lauren and Adam created a sense of depth and width by placing the larger cabinets and refrigerator near the entrance, gradually lightening the visual burden as the room continues to the window. When a visitor walks through the kitchen entrance, the larger cabinets seem a natural continuation of the narrow door and frame, and the room appears wider and longer as the floor-to-ceiling furniture gives way to open storage units and wide shelves. . This approach ensures that the room draws the visitor through the narrowest point of the space first and immediately into a more open space.
2. Play with the layers and materials of the furniture.
Lauren and Adam designed uniquely defined cabinet sections that add visual interest to the room and help outline storage needs. Custom base cabinet drawers and ceiling-high cabinets offer the most significant storage options for the heavier items in this family. As a second layer, Alan installed an upper row of white lacquered cabinets for items that need to be easily accessible but hidden. As a third layer, the team incorporated a section of translucent glass-fronted cabinets to display dinnerware and serving pieces, and as a fourth layer, Lauren and Adam chose a natural maple floating shelf to minimize sight lines along. the wall and to give the family immediate access to everyday basics. Each piece of furniture is custom designed, built with durable MDF and spray painted in white lacquer.
3, 4 and 5. Find a lot, Very specific points for the basics (from knives to pasta machine to sponges).
The team worked together to find creative ways to store pots, knives and family prep tools. In a few square feet of space, Lauren and Adam’s designs placed a countertop knife block, positioned just above a maple butcher block prep corner, moved the microwave from eye level to hand level, and held the corner window light as exposed as possible by hanging pots and pans on the wall. The 15 inch knife slot on the back of the butcher block offers safe storage for childproof knives and was designed by the home owner’s sister.
Across the galley, hidden under the slight overhang of the Calacatta Caldia marble countertop and invisible from all angles, Lauren and Adam have found a place for the family pasta maker, a favorite tool that clips to the counter. Alan created a slight cutout above the set of open shelves so that owners could easily work with their pasta machine near the butcher’s corner and near the hob.
And in their final design hat trick, the team raced at the homeowner’s suggestion to hide a slim flip-down compartment along the front of the sink to store the sponges. Contractors often build a cosmetic panel in that spot to mimic the look of real furniture, but this kitchen puts those few extra inches of typically wasted space into clever use.
Kudos to the team for finding these simple and functional ways to explain this family’s favorite kitchen activities! I really enjoyed hearing about the planning and collaboration that went into this project. In addition to these inspiring projects, Lauren and Adam collaborated with the condominium owners to select beautiful and durable materials to use throughout the space. The classic subway tile backsplash is from Heath Ceramics, the recessed lighting fixtures are from WAC, and the cabinet handles are from Hafele. The owners selected ABC Stone’s Calacatta Caldia marble worktop; its faint veins have traces of green, gray and yellow and its specific cut is the result of a trip by the whole team to the cemetery to confirm that the cut would take full advantage of the natural beauty of the stone. Owners also report that the quiet star of the new kitchen is “undoubtedly” the 30 “Capital Culinary gas stove with its high BTU open burners and understated” British racing green “finish.
The owners are still considering how best to use the corner by the window – I selfishly hope for a future update to see how they decide to create a small place to sit and eat here – but we won’t have to wait too long to see more from this. Gorgeous Project: Next week, I’ll have the full story of how this family’s design team and contractor redid three bathrooms and created custom interiors in the living room and master bedroom. If this project is inspiring you to start your kitchen remodel, post your project on Sweeten and we will find the right team to create a space you will love.