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March 21, 2013

Hide-And-Cook

Kitchen design conceals clutter

For some, the ideal kitchen is a big, noisy place where soup bubbles on the stove and everyone assembles around a big table. But for others, the perfect kitchen is one that is completely hidden away: no unsightly stovetop grill, no coffee machine on the counter, no imposing stainless-steel fridge.

Creating hidden kitchens is a challenge, but it is one I recently accepted while working with my clients, Doug and Keith. The couple live in a beautiful, historical house that they renovated in an uber-modern fashion. But somehow their renovation hammer missed their small, pink, ‘80s-style kitchen that stood out like a sore thumb in an otherwise streamlined home.

Doug and Keith wanted a seamless path from their front door right through to their outdoor patio, and that meant a kitchen that didn’t obstruct the flow. Don’t get me wrong: They still wanted a fridge and a stove and a dishwasher; they just didn’t want to see them.

For a tiny space, it would be a massive renovation. But I knew that by applying the principle of hidden design, I could serve up a delicious, contemporary kitchen that was simply out of sight.

To start, I had the whole space gutted, the electricity reorganized and the plumbing rerouted. I also put down a stunning dark hardwood floor and painted the walls in bright white. Since a big part of this project was to connect this tiny kitchen with the patio, I blew out the back wall and installed two huge sliding-glass doors surrounded by beautiful zebrawood. This creates the illusion of not having a wall between the two spaces.

Next, I concentrated on the kitchen’s two main walls. The first wall was all about function; here, I stacked an oven and microwave on one side and hid a stainless-steel fridge, freezer and wine cooler behind custom white panels on the other side. In the middle is a white crystalline sink with a glass cutting board that slides across when not in use. Below the sink I put some hidden storage, as well as a pullout trash and recycling bin.

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