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Stand alone – kitchen by Ibarra Rosano Design Architects

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Contemporary kitchen with rift-cut white oak

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Visual consistency is a hallmark of contemporary design – when the same material palette features throughout a house, there is a uniformity that creates a sense of harmony.

For this house in the Arizona desert, designed by Luis Ibarra and Teresa Rosano of Ibarra Rosano Design Architects, that uniformity is provided by a neutral color scheme and rift-cut white oak cabinets. Similar cabinets appear in the kitchen, living area, bedrooms and bathrooms.

But it is also the design that reinforces the architecture. A freestanding bank of cabinets in the kitchen and a matching island read as modern insertions within the large, open-plan living space. And the square-edged, horizontal design of the cabinets echoes the rectilinear form of the house itself.

Architect Teresa Rosano says another design influence for the kitchen was the owners' desire for an island that would hide much of the kitchen clutter from the adjoining dining and living areas. At the same time it was important that the owners could socialize with guests while working in the kitchen.

"To achieve this, we raised the bar top on the island by creating a bank of oak cabinets that wraps around the upper part of the island. This provides a series of small appliance garages on the countertop where items can be hidden away when not in use. On the front of the island, the cabinetry provides storage for items needed for the dining table."


Because the kitchen is part of the living space, large appliances, including the refrigerator, are integrated where possible, and a coffee station next to the ovens is concealed within the cabinetry. Additional storage is provided within a large scullery behind the freestanding cabinets. Here the cabinets, like the rear of the island, are in lacquered white oak.

Air vents on the top of the rear wall push air right out over the top of the stand-alone cabinets, which makes the air conditioning more effective, Rosano says.

A white island countertop, white walls and white dining furniture introduce a crisp accent to the overall space, yet are in keeping with the neutral palette. But, the occasional bright splash of color is also in evidence – for example, in the living area there is a large red painting.

"The owners took their cue from the desert landscape," says Rosano. "The colors outside are mostly neutral, but at certain times of the year, the desert flowers burst into bloom with wonderful splashes of color."

And with floor-to-ceiling windows, the view of the landscape is maximized.

First published date: 19 December 2013

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Credit List

Architect Luis Ibarra and Teresa Rosano, Ibarra Rosano Design Architects (Tucson, AZ)
Structural engineer Harris Engineering Services
Builder Process Design-Build
Paints Dunn-Edwards
Lighting Flos Castiglione chandelier; Nora track and recessed can lighting; WAC InvisiLED tape light under deck
Flooring Concrete in Davis colors
Kitchen cabinets Rift-cut white oak; lacquered white oak
Hardware Häfele
Countertops Quartz
Sink Franke
Faucets Grohe Minta
Ovens, cooktop and ventilation Wolf
Refrigeration Sub-Zero
Dishwasher Fisher & Paykel DishDrawers
Award Regional winner Sub-Zero Wolf Kitchen Design Awards