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Floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed ducting and stainless steel surfaces enhance the loft-style living environment of this townhouse

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Natural light is a sought-after commodity in a built-up urban environment. And when you have it, you don't want to lose it – a factor that influenced the design of this new kitchen.

Architect Alexander Gorlin says when the owners of the townhouse decided to renovate, they chose to move the ground-floor kitchen and dining areas up to the main living level.

"This area was formerly a mud room and hobby workshop space, which meant the large windows and attractive outlook were rather wasted," says Gorlin. "Placing the kitchen here allowed us to create a loft-style living space that maximizes the natural light and opens to a balcony above a small garden. There is also a view corridor between the large apartment buildings beyond."

Gorlin says the main challenge in designing the kitchen was to provide as much cabinet space as possible while preserving the light. To this end, a bank of translucent glass cabinets was suspended in front of the window wall. The backs of the cabinets feature sliding partitions that can be removed to enable the windows to be cleaned.

All the cabinets are in keeping with the owners' desire for a clean-lined modern look, and feature a hard polyester finish in white.

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"We wanted to keep everything light and airy," says Gorlin. "The main cabinetry is raised above the floor, on narrow chrome legs. This was also a way to keep clear of the existing vents in the floor."

A bank of high cabinets opposite the window wall accommodates the ovens, refrigerator and vertical pantries. The cabinets end several feet below the ceiling, which is uplit so it reflects light.

Limiting the material palette enhances the contemporary look of the kitchen. Countertops are all stainless steel, as are the appliances and the cooktop backsplash. In addition, the range hood ducting is exposed to create a design feature. To avoid interfering with the window wall, the ducting is vented through the ceiling to exit the building from the floor above.

As the kitchen is large, the work triangle extends laterally from the side wall across to the main sink countertop. A second sink is positioned on the island, which provides additional storage.

Functionality is also a feature of the cabinetry design. There are customized pull-out drawers for a variety of utensils, including lobster pots.

"Every square inch of the cabinetry has been put to good use, with Hafele inserts improving the functionality," says Gorlin.

First published date: 04 October 2006

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Credit List

Architect and kitchen designer Alexander Gorlin, AIA, NCARB, Gorlin Architects (New York)
Interior designer Emanuela Frattini Magnusson
General contractor and kitchen manufacturer Kel-mar Designs
Cabinetry Baked polyester-finish cabinets with polycarbonate panels and custom laminated glass
Countertops Stainless steel
Flooring Original travertine
Doors and windows Duratherm
Dining furniture Knoll Saarinen
Paints Benjamin Moore Paint
Ovens and cooktop Viking
Refrigerator Sub-Zero
Dishwasher Miele