Kitchen in disguise
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 10/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Loft living offers one distinct advantage over conventional layouts: all that openness. There's one drawback, though: all that openness. Such was the dilemma faced by a New York family that acquired two adjacent postwar apartments with the intention of combining them into a single loftlike 1,800-square-foot residence.
"With the living, dining, and kitchen area as open as possible, the kitchen couldn't look too kitchen-y," says Thomas Charnock, principal of Charnock &Company. His new 150-square-foot kitchen occupies the same space as one of the old ones. The difference between before and after takes the form of a missing wall, which Charnock demolished, and materials and finishes chosen to meld with the surrounding zones.
For the wall of cabinetry concealing small appliances—microwave, coffeemaker, and television—the architect selected a pale green lacquer that not only looks much more furniturelike but also echoes the living and dining areas' wool window drapery. In the same vein, he dismissed the notion of typical overhead cabinetry, opting instead for a cantilevered shelf of cerused oak, the same material used for the custom storage unit in the living area.
The shelf supports three custom cabinets of aluminum and white glass. "There's ample storage, even though it doesn't appear so," says the architect. In addition, the shelf conceals a pullout range hood.
Charnock employed more cerused oak for lower cabinetry, the computer nook, and the breakfast counter, which is table height, 29 inches, as opposed to bar height. To complement the subtle color palette and nontraditional appointments, he tiled the floor in 16-inch limestone squares.
Hardworking, easy-to-clean white Corian fit the bill for the 12-foot-long sink counter and backsplash. A second counter and the few exposed appliances gleam in stainless steel. After all, this is still a kitchen we're talking about.