How to Handle a Kitchen Rehab: First Find an Expert
By: Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q: We have bought an apartment in an old building. It’s a local landmark, so we can’t change the exterior. But we do have permission to redo our own apartment, which is dark — there’s a lot of beautiful oak paneling that we’ll keep. I want a bright, open eat-in kitchen. What should I do first?
A: First step: Find yourself a qualified, creative interior designer who has had solid experience in rehabilitating kitchens. Unlike many other design projects, making over a kitchen requires a specialist’s skills. You’ll be juggling wiring and plumbing as well as dealing with building codes, long before you can even begin to consider aesthetics, such as style and colors.
Florence Perchuk — a kitchen designer who was the first woman in New York City to become a certified kitchen designer (by the National Kitchen & Bath Association) — created the pictured creamy, calm contemporary kitchen. She transformed a space that, like yours, is in an historic building, one of the Grand Dames that border the West Side of New York’s Central Park.
Florence updates the meaning of “Grande,” streamlining the MDF cabinets (from Wood-Mode’s “Vangard” collection) and adding contemporary ideas, such as the tile floor “grouted” with sparkling mosaics. The sleek, glass-topped table with acrylic “ghost” chairs forms an eating area anchored by the ceiling-high column.
Such columns are a fact of life in many old apartments (it contains the building’s “arteries”). In the designer’s hands, the column becomes a welcome asset: she puts it to work as a room divider. Hung with artworks on one side, it now turns a handsome face to the public space beyond the kitchen door.
See more of Florence’s kitchen magic and other projects at www.florenceperchuk.com. To survey Wood-Mode’s custom cabinetry, click on www.wood-mode.com.
Q: When is a chair not a chair?
A: When its design is so exciting that you just can’t sit still!
That’s what happened all over the 2010 International Contemporary Furniture Fair last month, when hundreds of young and/or uninhibited designers brought their “way out-of-the-envelope” chair ideas to New York. Yes, they had seats, legs, arms and backs — all the anatomical features you’d expect from a chair — but from there, flights of fancy really took off.
— John Reeves, REEVES design artist, molded brilliantly colored resin over steel into anthropomorphically shaped chairs (and tables) beyond your wildest dreams — think nightmares! But they’re already selling with price tags hitting $7,000 and up (www.reevesd.com).
— Speaking of nightmares, pull a “Barnacle” stool up to a “Jellyfish” table from Designlush. Designer/craftsman Robert Brou takes inspiration from nature for pieces sold mostly through art and crafts galleries — and for lots: $74,000 for his “Porcupine” table (www.naturalismfurniture.com).
— UM Project (stands for “Users & Makers”) debuted something we hadn’t seen before: a bench-slash-table made of solid cork, with an aluminum insert (to hold a wine bottle?). Price: $2,000 (www.umproject.com).
Rubber foam, carbon fiber, steel with felt. Our favorite was plywood formed into a “deer” chair with antler-like wings and at least eight legs. Price: $6,000 (www.antoniopiosaracino.com).
— Baltasar Portillo’s “Skeletoid” chair is like sitting on an X-ray, with its golden steel vertebrae welded to bare steel ribs. Nothing spare about its great good looks … or the price. But at $10,000, you’re buying a piece of sculpture (www.baltasarportillo.com).
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