From Spec to Spectacular
Leslie Banker -- Interior Design, 4/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
Stunning views of New York's Central Park were not enough to make a certain 1,000-square-foot condominium built on spec special. The one-bedroom, one-bathroom box felt like so many of the city's cookie-cutter apartments, down to the enclosed kitchen with low ceiling and nondescript vinyl floor tiles.
The owner hired Chelsea Atelier Architect principal Ayhan Ozan to transform the interior from blah to brilliant, giving the directive to open up the rectangular floor plan and soften the barriers between rooms.
To Ozan, the kitchen was the obvious place to start. "The heart is the functionality," says the architect. "Once the space is figured out, you can play with materials, then the color palette, and then the detailing."
The realization that the prewar building's ceilings had been dropped to 8 feet prompted Ozan to restore them to their original 12-foot-high grandeur. He then dropped the kitchen ceiling to 11 feet to allow 1 foot for recessed lighting and plumbing.
His next move to rip out the kitchen wall abutting the living area was thwarted when he discovered water and heating pipes inside. Ozan's clever solution: A 1-foot-square column running from the ceiling to a newly created breakfast bar enabled the wall to go and the pipes to stay. Made of amber cast resin and stainless steel, the 7-foot-long column doubles as a 10-bottle wine rack.
For materials, Ozan chose shiny slabs of white Calcutta marble for the countertops and backsplash, stainless steel for appliances and lower cabinets, and cast aluminum for the Pepe Cortès Jamaica bar stools serving the breakfast bar. Upper cabinets fronted in acid-etched glass offer a hint of transparency. The reddish veins in the kitchen's 16-inch-square French limestone floor tiles complement the warm Brazilian teak Ozan used on the living area's floor. "The wood brings the floor to life," he says.
A 7-foot-wide, tinted-glass panel above the hood softens the barrier between the kitchen and bathroom, both illuminated by the same recessed pinpoint spotlights for continuity. The French limestone tiles are echoed in the bathroom, too, as they clad the floor and walls. Ozan enclosed the shower in clear-glass panels to enhance the 100-square-foot bathroom's sense of spaciousness.
Adhering to a clean geometric theme, the architect mounted twin square limestone basins atop custom cube-shape plywood cabinets, lacquered a happy yellow; fittings are polished chrome. Above, slender cylindrical sconces light a pair of rectangular mirrors. And never forgetting the importance of functionality, Ozan tucked a washer and dryer in a closet behind the sinks.