Written by: Tiffany Carboni
Kitchen inspiration sometimes comes in surprising ways. For the owners of this Arts & Crafts-inspired home, their new kitchen was as much a result of their height (she stands just under 5', and he’s a few inches taller) as it was 9/11. Though the couple found the standard height of their former NYC brownstone kitchen an inconvenience, they had no intention of remodeling, let alone building anew.
That fateful September day, however, presented itself as an unexpected springboard. They left the city after the mayhem subsided and retired in Upstate New York’s historic village of Warwick, where the self-proclaimed architectural junkies found an empty lot.
They teamed with architects Jeff DeGraw and Chris DeHaan of DeGraw & DeHaan Architects and built a home that blended with the surrounding turn-of-the-20thcentury houses—but with a kitchen built just for them. “From the outside, people think this house has been here 100 years because of the meticulous detail we put into its creation,” explains DeGraw. “Inside, we took those same Arts & Crafts elements but repurposed them in a modern way that offers a subtle tribute to their urban past.”
Those elements include a blend of shaker and Arts & Crafts-style cabinets that Artistic Millwork built to DeGraw’s exacting drawings. While the island is standard height so as to fit a normal-sized dishwasher, DeGraw lowered the perimeter cabinets two inches making the long contiguous workstations comfortable for the lady of the house who is an avid home chef. The wall cabinets, in turn, hang lower for convenient accessibility.
Atop are Corian counters, which the homeowners insisted upon. DeGraw explains, “After living with marble countertops for so long, they wanted a material that wasn’t as cold.”
The white countertops bounce light, whether it’s from the commercial florescent lighting tubes from Lightolier, the Craftsman-style pendants from Tech Lighting, or the abundant sun. The Western exposure can get intense in the afternoon, but rather than limit the views with window treatments, the couple simply works around the sun’s schedule—hence the sinks on opposing sides of the island.
Given the couple’s desire to spend time together, DeGraw added an adjunct office so the gentleman of the house can enjoy his wife’s company while surfing the Internet. Both spaces are tied together with the vertical grain fir flooring and windows that remind the couple every day of their new beginning.
“I have to admit the detailing on this kitchen, as is the case with the rest of the house, is as spot on as we’ve ever done,” notes DeGraw. “This couple knew exactly what they wanted, even if they hadn’t known they wanted it before 9/11.”
Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unexpected sources.