When Pam Bradford combined two apartments into one in a New York pre-World War II building, she had some pretty definite ideas about how the place should look post-renovation. “I wanted to mix the “old” world with the new, she explains. “Exposing the original beams brought the apartment back to a prewar feeling. The place is very eclectic now, with our 19th-centry pieces and modern paintings.”
The pivotal point in making the enlarged apartment work was the kitchen, but there was some disagreement about its design. The smaller of the two original kitchens became a wet bar, and the second kitchen was to be totally remodeled. “My husband had wanted an open kitchen, but I was dead set against it,” Bradford recalls. “If the kitchen, which adjoins the dining room, was open, everyone would see the mess.”
She and her husband, Achilles Perry, are both lawyers—she’s general counsel for Calvin Klein and he works at Goldman Sachs—and, with the help of Manhattan-based designer Yves Claude, they worked out a successful compromise. A wide pass-through and a doorway—minus the door—help give the compact new kitchen some breathing space.
As part of the renovation, the room was slightly enlarged, although its new 7-by-14-foot dimensions can hardly be considered spacious. Claude had his work cut out for him. “You can’t afford to waste space in a New York City kitchen,” he says. “Everything must have a use.” And so to the left of the Sub-Zero Model 561 refrigerator/freezer, a drawer incorporating a cutting board adds almost two more linear feet of workspace.
And, in what would normally be a dead corner to the right of the sink, the designer installed special dual-function slide-outs for corner units. “When you pull out the two-shelf unit and angle it, a second, hidden, double-shelf unit emerges.” Claude notes. “It’s very efficient.”
Small can be good. “Standing at the range is like being in a cockpit. Everything is within arm’s reach,” the designer declares.
And to be sure that the cook can find things easily, doors on the upper cabinets flip up and, in rather than swinging out. The doors are meant to be open when one is working so there is full access to the contents in the cabinets. Just as important, there’s no change of accidentally hitting one’s head on an open door, he notes.
The sleek space is sheathed entirely in stainless-steel—the designer’s favorite material—which dark green marble—the homeowner’s choice—on
the floor and backsplash. Claude explains his passion for stainless: “Because the material lasts forever, you can refinish it by buffing it so it looks like new, and most importantly, it’s one hundred percent hygienic. The counters are seamless so there are no crevices to catch dirt.” The professional-style Wolf range, fitted out with the grill design that Bradford preferred, blends right in.
Stainless steel also lends itself to simplicity of design, which is another of Claude’s guiding principles. “Handles are the only thing we see, and in this kitchen we built the design around the Wolf and Sub-Zero handles, duplicating them on all the cabinets,” he points out.
Form the bold yellow dining room, the gleam of stainless steel is apparent not only through the open doorway, but also on expansive panels above and below the pass-through. The panels could be painted, but Bradford likes them just as they are. “From the dining room, the view of stainless steel and deep-green marble is like a modern painting,” she says. “It furthered my plan of juxtaposing modern art, which is what the kitchen is, within a rich antique setting. The kitchen is simple, clean and beautiful. It totally works.