A Manhattan Pied-À-Terre Centers Around A Very Yare Kitchen

Hemlines may rise and fall, but the American kitchen – despite the claims of some design prognosticators – seems to have settled permanently in open-plan mode. In Manhattan, where in even the grandest apartments the fashion was for a small affair tucked behind a swinging door that kept the mess of making dinner out of sight, the barriers have come down. And while no one is clamoring for a return of the midi, architect Benjamin Andres has shown that there’s something to be said for a kitchen that occupies a middle ground.

Taking a one-bedroom Fifth Avenue apartment from Persian carpets and butler’s tables to a contemporary space programmed to welcome a family of three and a nanny was no mean feat. Luckily, his Florida-based clients were looking for interiors that echoed the everything-in-its-place beauty of a yacht. So, by gutting the unit, employing pocket doors and sliding doors that could remain open most of the time, and incorporating built-ins, Andres was able to make it all shipshape.

In addition to creating a greater flow by reducing the number of interior walls and orienting rooms to take best advantage of the limited natural light, Andres moved the kitchen from the back of the apartment to the center of the home, transforming it from a primarily functional space to a readily accessible area for entertaining. As the first public space one enters after passing through the foyer, it was important that the room not read too quickly as the home of Bosch and Gaggenau. “My clients wanted the kitchen to feel as if it is not just a kitchen, but part of something bigger,” observes Andres.

Situated a step lower than the adjacent living room – which Andres elevated to give greater spatial diversity to the home – the kitchen is outfitted with cabinetry of cerused white oak. Although anchored by a substantial marble-topped dining table, the hardware-less cabinets endow the room with a sophisticated architectural aspect, like bookcases in a fine library. “There’s an element of art in those,” suggests builder Mike Daddio, whose company handled all the painting, plastering and millwork in the apartment. “We took the architect’s specifications and then hand-selected the right veneers to create a seamless, matched integration.”

Neither an open plan nor the scullery-like den of old, this kitchen plays a big part in generating the breezy, airy feeling the homeowners desired. Conventionally cozy, it’s not. It’s no minimalist machine, either. But it is a perfect fit.

Photography by Regan Wood.

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