Sky-High Kitchen

Cutting-edge design fuses style and function in a Ritz-Carlton penthouse in White Plains.

Unlike many homeowners who downsize from large houses to smaller apartments once they’re empty nesters, one busy working couple moved from Manhattan to a 38th-floor penthouse in White Plains to gain space, amenities, and proximity to their grandchildren and Connecticut country home. 

Looking for the upscale urban feel of New York City, the couple selected a 2,880 sq ft apartment at The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton Westchester Tower II. The space was raw, allowing them to customize it to their needs. Along with the Cappelli Organization, which handled construction; a designer who worked on layout and ï¬nishings; and a kitchen design team from Klaff’s, the couple embarked on a seven-month-long, $600,000 project encompassing the entire condo, including the kitchen and dining area. 

The stunning result includes a sleek and sophisticated entertaining area comprising a state-of-the-art, open-plan kitchen; chic cocktail room for drinks before dinner; and stylish dining area that’s perfect for cooking, storage, meals, and get-togethers. A subtle palette of taupes and grays, with pops of magenta and pink, plus a custom stone kitchen island with an angle that matches that of the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living area, allow the space’s crown jewel — the breathtaking views — to shine. Finally, instead of the standard dark-walnut floors, the couple chose a lighter maple to convey an airy feel in their aerie.

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The sleek, new open-floor-plan kitchen with angled island and top-of-the-line appliances features a custom stove, bar sink, farmer’s sink, and upgraded cabinets with custom-crafted accessories, plus a planning desk, wet-bar peninsula, and wooden range hood. Cabinetry is from Klaff’s Custom Signature Series; it is painted in Seapearl from Benjamin Moore and has Hampton doors and polished-nickel hinges with Tangeres Mushroom knobs and pulls from Atlas Homewares. Mirror-front cabinets over the sink and bar reflect the view.

How to Downsize in the Kitchen

When interior and kitchen designer Carol DeBear, ASID, of DeBear Designs in Greenwich and Palm Beach, Fla., moved to a temporary rental after selling her house in Scarsdale, her new kitchen had only one drawer — so she knows all about downsizing the kitchen ï¬rsthand. How can you make a smaller or different kitchen work most effectively for you? DeBear offers these expert tips to ensure that your new kitchen — no matter the size — “is a calm, clutter-free, and organized space, instead of a messy place where you can’t ï¬nd what you’re looking for.”

• Consider a professional organizer to help with the purging and packing. 

• Store only items you use every day in the kitchen. Find another place — like a dining-room sideboard or hallway armoire — to put china, crystal, and anything that you use only a few times a year. 

• Give away or donate anything you haven’t used in two years. Ask yourself how many mismatched, chipped coffee mugs you need. DeBear says she never misses her Mickey and
Minnie panini makers!

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• Donate, consign, sell, or give away unwanted items.

• Have a tag sale.

• Be realistic. Will you really need two sets of dishes for 12 in your new home?

• Keep counters free of clutter and appliances. Store them in an under-the-counter drawer, cabinet, or appliance garage.

• Throw out old wooden spoons and rusty can openers and use drawer dividers to organize silverware and utensils.

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• Keep only what you love and items you use every day. You will enjoy having less and using what you have,she says.

• Offer sentimental items to family or friends. DeBear put everything she didn’t want out on a table and invited friends to come choose what they wanted.

• Take pictures of sentimental items you are letting go of for a memory book.

• Hire a professional or an auction house if you have antiques or many furniture items.

• Replace various old blenders with a multipurpose Vitamix.

• In temporary digs? DeBear advises against taking a storage unit if you can help it. For the $250 per month times 12 months, or $3,000 per year, you’ll spend to store old dishes, she suggests treating yourself to a new kitchen table and chairs instead.

• And if you’re downsizing because your nest is empty, says DeBear, “remember that though it can be an emotional time [when you are] selling the home in which you raised a family, it’s also exciting moving to a new stage of life. We realize how much stuff we don’t use or need. It’s a great feeling to purge and be able to have a smaller but more efï¬cient kitchen.”

Starting Fresh or Remodeling: Tips to Design By 

Whether you are remodeling or starting from scratch, kitchen designer Carol DeBear offers some design and organizing advice that everyone should follow when embarking on a kitchen redesign.

• Work with a professional kitchen designer.

• House the microwave and wine refrigerator in an island or peninsula.

• Incorporate large, deep drawers to house big pots, and store smaller ones inside them.

• Consider a European kitchen design with such cool features as upper cabinets that open by touch horizontally, lower drawers for housing plates and bowls with wooden peg dividers that can be conï¬gured by size, spice drawers, pullout pantries, tray dividers, etc.

• Have one kitchen wall designed to look like built-in furniture, and have everything — an integrated refrigerator, freezer, pullout pantry, and coffee bar — concealed behind doors.

• Conceal coffee makers, toasters, etc. in an appliance garage.

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