Dress it up with applied molding and corbels or dress it down with a minimum of materials. Whether a kitchen is contemporary or classic—or somewhere in the middle—white works.
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Classic Chic in Scarsdale
A curved cabinet with a glass door insert deftly provides storage in what could have been a non-functional corner. A hanging pot rack adds a surprise splah of copper and brass against a backdrop of white and stainless steel.
“I want a white kitchen, but I don’t want it to be just a white kitchen,” the owner of a Scarsdale Colonial told designer Karen Williams, a principal of St. Charles of New York, which recently opened a much-anticipated new showroom in Manhattan’s A & D Building.
“One of the tricks to making white interesting is to use the same material in many ways,” Williams explains. In this 16-by-22-foot kitchen, two-inch-thick slabs of Calacatta Gold marble find their way onto counters as well as an apron-front sink. Four-by-16-inch tiles in the same veined white marble are set subway-style on the walls, including the backs of wall cabinets. To add depth and even more texture, Williams layered slabs of marble, cut into camelback shapes, on top of the tile backsplashes. “The layering makes the sink look like a piece of furniture,” Williams says.
To enliven the snow-white St. Charles of New York cabinets, Williams played off reflective materials and curved surfaces. The range, professional-style refrigerator/freezer, and double wall oven and warming drawer all are clad in stainless steel. They’re complemented by a custom-designed range hood of brushed nickel trimmed in polished nickel bands and lined in stainless steel. On the inner side of the dining island, cabinets wear recessed-panel doors made of stainless steel in a satin finish. They’re identical in style to their wood neighbors, a design compatible with the 1920s-era house.
The marble slabs on the sink front and backsplash are scooped or “dished” out for ornamentation and, in the case of the sink, to minimize drips.
Located across from the range, the steel cabinets also are extremely practical in this hardest-working part of the kitchen. Stainless-steel toe kicks and “socks” on corner posts marry wood cabinets to the metal ones and make cabinetry seem to float over the oak floor.
Another element that ties together the space is the repetition of curved shapes. The marble counter atop one island echoes the shape of the camelback marble slabs. A simple, but dramatic arc defines the serving island close to the table in the adjoining breakfast room. Despite its traditional components, the kitchen has fresh, contemporary overtones, and with its many eye-delighting details, makes a clear case that white is always right.
The kitchen is defined by curves: the arcs of the islands, the camelback marble slabs behind the sink.
Designer: Karen Williams, St. Charles of New York
Cabinetry: St. Charles of New York cabinets in stainless steel and painted wood, with nickel latches and bullet hinges
Appliances: Polished nickel and stainless-steel hood; La Cornue gas range; Wolf double electric oven and warming drawer; Sub-Zero 648 PRO/G refrigerator/freezer with glass refrigerator door
Countertops and backsplash: Calacatta Gold marble counters; Calacatta Gold marble tiles set subway-style as backsplash
Faucets: Single-hole mixer faucets with side spray, soap and lotion dispensers in polished nickel, and pot-filler, all by Perrin and Rowe for Rohl
Lighting: Reproduction glass pendants by Remains Lighting
Pot Rack: Europa pot rack in brushed nickel with polished brass pot hooks by Howard Kaplan Designs