2020 ASID NJ Bronze Award for Design Excellence - Residential CondoKITCHEN PROBLEM:
As part of a large renovation project for long time clients, two apartments were combined. The smaller kitchen was converted into a laundry room, a bathroom was upgraded and the kitchen in the larger apartment was remodeled.
The challenges in this project were many: no ability to move or reroute plumbing, mechanical ducts or some electric lines; no ability to vent to the exterior; concrete floors and ceilings; short work hours and limited elevator time. Contractors typically add a surcharge to their construction cost due to these types of condo building job site conditions.KITCHEN SOLUTION:
The clients entertain frequently and host out of town guests. The original apartment was designated as the "public" space: dining, living, bar area, kitchen and guest room with the smaller apartment for "private": master suite (bedroom, bath and walk-in closet), laundry room and home office. In an otherwise mostly open plan apartment, a door provides privacy between public and private.
A pet peeve of the clients was seeing straight into the kitchen from the front door so the renovation project was an opportunity to address that. See before and after floor plans to follow along on how we solved this and enlarged the kitchen from 105 square feet to 144 square feet. Removing the walk-in closet created an additional 4' of width in the kitchen and allowed the hallway wall to extend 8' across the kitchen. Blocking the view from the front door creates a surprise wow factor walking around the corner into the space. The husband had the great idea to add a short curved wall for a more graceful transition. An alcove was created for a red custom painted and stenciled storage and display hutch from a previous time we had worked together. The wall between the former master bedroom and living room was removed to create one large open room for relaxing and socializing. A highlight of the new living/dining space is a sleek modern electric firebox (the building has no ability to route new gas lines or vent to the exterior) installed in a full-height tiled stone wall with a reclaimed wood beam mantle. Another cool entertaining feature is a built-in bar which also has a garden hose outlet under the sink for watering plants on the balcony.
The cooking appliances were selected based on planning ahead for "aging in place". We replaced the range with a cooktop and wall oven at waist height to eliminate bending down. As mentioned before, there was no option to vent to the exterior so the microwave functions as a recirculating fan. The height of the microwave was based on the height of the two homeowners and compromising between ease of reach into the microwave and headroom while cooking.
The wife is an active cook who specializes in Indian food and blends her own curry spice mix. She was especially excited about the functionality of the new chef’s sink, upgraded cabinet storage and organizing options. The sink features a custom fitted cutting board. Additional cutting boards, trays and bakeware are conveniently stored above the oven. A 21" wide dedicated spice storage wall cabinet to the left of the cooktop utilizes a 3 step organizer for easy retrieval. The 33" wide tall food pantry with rollout shelves guarantees full visibility and access. Pullout bins keep trash and recycling accessible but hidden. Cutlery and utensil drawers are outfitted with dividers.
We focused on cabinet installation and finish carpentry details to overcome the particular challenge in installing an integrated cabinet look due to the mechanicals and soffits. The wall cabinets on the range wall and wrapping partially around the corner towards the oven were installed below the existing soffit. The tall oven and the rollout food pantry cabinets replace the original pantry closet and had to be installed 12" below the ceiling so as not to cover the sprinkler head. We installed a cabinet panel on the back wall above and wrapped around the corner with a removable wood panel to provide access to an electrical door panel in the ceiling. The chase for mechanicals is disguised in the corner behind the cabinetry. The refrigerator wall had no soffit so the cabinets are installed to the ceiling.
Previous times working with the clients we worked in a warm color platte of ocher, mustard and reds combined with cherry wood tones. This time we selected brown tone woods: dark "cappuccino" for the cabinets and slightly lighter "walnut" for the 1800 square feet of wood look porcelain floor tile throughout the entire combined apartments (with the exception of bathrooms). The gold/beige countertops were replaced with a white and gray engineered stone marble look. The bold cobalt blue backsplash tile in a modern 6” hexagon pattern brightens the space and brings it all together.
Lighting includes LED undercabinet lights for task lighting, LED recessed hi-hats for general illumination and a beaded shade track light over the serving counter.
SQUARE FEET: 144