Modern Maven


This new build was designed to mimic a very modern Feldman Architecture-built home in the Santa Lucia Mountains that the homeowners happened to see in a publication. “They had very definite design ideas based on [that] house,” says designer RitaLuisa Garcés. “They came from a very traditional house in Rye and wanted a very contemporary, minimalist home.”

For the 420 sq ft kitchen, the team started with the cabinet color: Rift White oak with a Smokewood stain. “We began the design process in 2012, but the job wasn’t completed until 2014,” says designer RitaLuisa Garcés. “The overall kitchen design took about a year of experimenting with materials and the balance of the open space. I tried to add touches of natural walnut with gray stained oak and matching colored concrete tops. The space only has one full height wall so the kitchen seems to float within a larger area.”

With only a few walls and at various heights — one wall was 16 feet high, while the other a little over 8 feet high — the cabinets were tricky and Garcés wanted the color palette to add to, not take away from, the design and the view. 

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“The height of the cabinetry was tricky because of the space,” says Garcés. “We opted to vary the heights [of cabinets] to harmonize with the architecture.” 

As for the color palette, “We really wanted the colors to be quiet and not conflict with the beauty of nature and the sights on the Hudson River.”

And because the client loves to cook and entertain, the space needed to have “work areas” and accommodate several people at once. “Easy access storage was [also] key,” says Garcés. “Bi-fold doors on upper units were used so no doors are in your way. These can be kept open with many people using the space.” Garcés also added “lots of drawers for storage and sliding doors on the tall units.” 

Although this space was filled with its fair share of challenges and definitive design ideas, the final design is ultra modern and highly useful for a skilled cook. 

What to Do: “Listen to your client’s needs and even what they don’t ask,” says Garcés. “True understanding about their daily habits and functions enables the design team to create different options. Explaining and managing a client’s expectations [is] key to a successful project [as well].”

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What Not to Do: “Don’t ask too many outside people their opinions, and do your homework!” 

The Team: RitaLuisa Garcés, senior designer; Tabitha Tepe, assistant designer, both at Bilotta Kitchens; Tanya Barth, RA of RGR Landscape Architecture & Architecture PLLC; and HS2 Architecture

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