Are you daydreaming about making over your out-of-date kitchen? What if you had $85,000 to spend and the help of a designer with seriously good taste in modern fixtures and furnishings? This New York City kitchen renovation featured on Architectural Digest and Remodelista can provide some inspiration, even if you’re on a much smaller budget.
Diego Rincon of Diego Alejandro Design approached this project with an unusual source of inspiration in mind: the sense of peace and calm you find in art galleries. When imagining a space that feels highly functional, spacious, and clean but with a creative edge, Rincon thought of artist Yves Klein’s posthumous “Propositions Monochromes” exhibition, which famously paired a single distinctive shade of blue with the blank white gallery walls.
The “before” image shows a fairly standard contemporary kitchen with mid-grade appliances, green Formica countertops, white subway tile, and off-white cabinetry that doesn’t match the white walls. The new custom-designed cabinetry is a cook’s dream, with each cabinet and drawer outfitted with special partitions and trays for pots and pans, cutting boards, cooking tools, colanders, and more. The new cabinets have no hardware or milled details for a more streamlined look, not to mention the fact that there are fewer doors overall, making the space look larger.
Thick, open shelving allows a curated selection of objects to set a mood while clutter is kept hidden away. Rincon took the door off the pantry to the left of the stove and transformed it with extra counter space and a pull-out cabinet to physically enlarge the kitchen. Lighter marble countertops make a big difference, too, with the extension of the marble pattern up onto the backsplash giving the space a more harmonic feel.
Rincon explains: “When I started designing this custom kitchen for my client — an avid cook with a busy schedule — I wanted to give him an efficient and functional space. But I also wanted to create a space for him that had a sense of peace and calm resembling an art gallery’s atmosphere. Cerused Oak wood with a natural grain mixed with custom, high-gloss lacquered cabinetry, alongside calacatta lilac marble from Italy were some of the materials carefully sourced for the redesign of this kitchen in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in New York.”
“I removed an old set of upper cabinets to make the space feel airier. Two floating shelves took their place. To me, this is perhaps one of the most graceful parts of the kitchen. I wanted to highlight the craftsmanship that was put into every little detail that makes up the kitchen. I designed a small spice cabinet — six inches deep, to store herbs from different regions plus a selection of olive oils and vinegar bottles, which is especially convenient in New York.”
Obviously, not everyone can take their pick of Viking appliances and luxury surfaces, but just seeing how Rincon changed certain elements to alter the ambiance and functionality of the space can help spur your own ideas. Plus, if you’re a renter or on a serious budget, you can always try recreating some of these elements with IKEA’s LACK wall shelves, sleek handle-free cabinet doors, self adhesive marble film, and some organizing inserts.
All photos courtesy of Gieves Anderson