New York architect Bill Peterson alludes to Machine Age details in his compact, contemporary kitchen and bathroom designs.
Julia Lewis -- Interior Design, 3/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
WHEN ASKED BY a New York bachelor to redesign a kitchen and bathroom, architect Bill Peterson sought to reconcile his client's preference for contemporary lines and sleek materials with the project's context, a recently renovated 1920s apartment house. In order to establish a sense of continuity between the apartment and its locale, the architect drew inspiration from the newly restored lobby. Applying his signature "clean, simple design approach" to these small rooms, Peterson created unconventionally efficient spaces that resonate with the building's Art Deco details.
Peterson transformed the 50-sq.-ft. galley kitchen into an orderly, functional space with a sleek, contemporary look. All appliances and fixtures are located along one wall and seamlessly integrated into a monolithic stainless-steel counter unit. In lieu of additional cabinets, a single above-counter shelf emphasizes the length of the room. "The client entertains frequently and uses the kitchen as more of a wet bar than for cooking," explains Peterson. "The shelf is used for the display of objects rather than utilitarian items, which are stored in an adjacent pantry instead." With its ceiling and wall lacquered an infernal shade of red, the kitchen's color scheme derives from the lobby's vibrant palette. "The room actually glows," says the architect. "It provides the apartment with an animated shot of color."
The bathroom's design, says Peterson, derives from the compact, organized interiors of Deco-era trains and ocean liners. Clad from floor to ceiling in stainless steel, the 30-sq.-ft. bathroom features "wash-down" surfaces and an open shower with a central drain. "The stainless-steel envelope establishes a clean, hard-edged surface into which useful objects are inserted," says the architect, referring to the flush-mounted medicine cabinet, storage niches, and accessories. "Keeping everything flush and holding that edge creates a refined, modern look," he adds. A wall-mounted porcelain sink and basic 3/4-in.-square ceramic floor tiles are practical, neutral, and easily maintained. Lined with Douglas fir, the custom medicine cabinet "introduces an element of warmth that is always apparent," says Peterson. The cabinet's clever design integrates an incandescent strip light that is visible whether the partially mirrored door is open or closed. The incandescent tube and the warm, soft wood veneer are unexpected, he says, and "fundamentally different." Plumbing fixtures were chosen for their stylized shapes and extreme restraint.
In each room, says Peterson, the objective was to create a "contemporary and interesting" space that works within the project's context. Precise, machined finishes, clean profiles, exotic color, and built-in technology reflect the apartment building's Deco vintage while providing the client with stylish and efficient spaces.