White Hot


Classic Chic in Scarsdale

A curved cabinet with a glass door insert deftly provides storage in what could have been a non-functional corner. A hanging pot rack adds a surprise splah of copper and brass against a backdrop of white and stainless steel.


“I want a white kitchen, but I don’t want it to be just a white kitchen,” the owner of a Scarsdale Colonial told designer Karen Williams, a principal of St. Charles of New York, which recently opened a much-anticipated new showroom in Manhattan’s A & D Building.

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“One of the tricks to making white interesting is to use the same material in many ways,” Williams explains. In this 16-by-22-foot kitchen, two-inch-thick slabs of Calacatta Gold marble find their way onto counters as well as an apron-front sink. Four-by-16-inch tiles in the same veined white marble are set subway-style on the walls, including the backs of wall cabinets. To add depth and even more texture, Williams layered slabs of marble, cut into camelback shapes, on top of the tile backsplashes. “The layering makes the sink look like a piece of furniture,” Williams says.

To enliven the snow-white St. Charles of New York cabinets, Williams played off reflective materials and curved surfaces. The range, professional-style refrigerator/freezer, and double wall oven and warming drawer all are clad in stainless steel. They’re complemented by a custom-designed range hood of brushed nickel trimmed in polished nickel bands and lined in stainless steel. On the inner side of the dining island, cabinets wear recessed-panel doors made of stainless steel in a satin finish. They’re identical in style to their wood neighbors, a design compatible with the 1920s-era house.

The marble slabs on the sink front and backsplash are scooped or “dished” out for ornamentation and, in the case of the sink, to minimize drips.

Located across from the range, the steel cabinets also are extremely practical in this hardest-working part of the kitchen. Stainless-steel toe kicks and “socks” on corner posts marry wood cabinets to the metal ones and make cabinetry seem to float over the oak floor.

Another element that ties together the space is the repetition of curved shapes. The marble counter atop one island echoes the shape of the camelback marble slabs. A simple, but dramatic arc defines the serving island close to the table in the adjoining breakfast room. Despite its traditional components, the kitchen has fresh, contemporary overtones, and with its many eye-delighting details, makes a clear case that white is always right.

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The kitchen is defined by curves: the arcs of the islands, the camelback marble slabs behind the sink.

the details

Designer: Karen Williams, St. Charles of New York
Cabinetry: St. Charles of New York cabinets in stainless steel and painted wood, with nickel latches and bullet hinges
Appliances: Polished nickel and stainless-steel hood; La Cornue gas range; Wolf double electric oven and warming drawer; Sub-Zero 648 PRO/G refrigerator/freezer with glass refrigerator door
Countertops and backsplash: Calacatta Gold marble counters; Calacatta Gold marble tiles set subway-style as backsplash
Faucets: Single-hole mixer faucets with side spray, soap and lotion dispensers in polished nickel, and pot-filler, all by Perrin and Rowe for Rohl
Lighting: Reproduction glass pendants by Remains Lighting
Pot Rack: Europa pot rack in brushed nickel with polished brass pot hooks by Howard Kaplan Designs




An English Accent in Armonk

Dentil and crown moldings at the ceiling set the classical tone, which is repeated in the cabinetry detail. Walls painted the color of café au lait offset the white cabinets.

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Restaurateurs by trade, the owners of this just-built Armonk house not surprisingly wanted their new kitchen to encompass all of the state-of-the-art amenities available. Equally essential was that the room be central to family life and a spot to share their celebrated culinary creations. But, as cutting-edge and functional as the space needed to be, it also had to complement their English manor-style residence. A contradiction? Not according to the pros at Greenwich, Connecticut-based Clive Christian Greenwich, where the lady of the house found handcrafted-in-England cabinets with the time-honored look she envisioned. The stage was set.

White is a clear choice for cabinetry with classical antecedents, but not just any white would do. Working with designer Robert Varca, who was then with the firm, and artist/draftsman Amy Matterazzo, the homeowner was clear in the look she was after.

“The client wanted something creamy—an ivory—but without any yellow in it,” Matterazzo recalls. The cabinets came off the ship with just a white primer; stateside craftsmen then applied the glaze, sanding between applications to add depth to the finish. “When it’s hand-applied, glaze puddles a bit so it makes decorative elements such as corbels pop,” she explains. Dentil moldings, acanthus-leaf corbels, applied carved moldings, and other classical architectural features suggest pieces of fine furniture. The pale cabinets are accented with classic bronze pulls.

The double-ogee edge treatment of the teak island top, broken pediment of the wall cabinets, and acanthus-leaf corbels suggest the look of fine furniture.

Select upper cabinets feature true divided lites in beveled glass and glass shelves. Abetted by a pair of crystal chandeliers, the glass fronts—illuminated from within—bounce light around the room. Cream-colored hammered Jerusalem limestone counters and a backsplash of Jerusalem limestone tile in both polished and honed finishes add texture to the neutral palette.

The elegant room has two focal points, each centered on tour de force architectural woodwork. One is an armoire, topped with a broken pediment and flanked with fluted pilasters, that masks the integrated refrigerator and freezer; the other is the corbelled mantel over the range. The ivory paint made it possible to incorporate a remarkable level of detail and subtle variations in tone without making the room appear too busy.

But not all is done up in elegant creams and ivories. The island’s teak counter and a tumbled limestone tile floor in four shades of brown and beige provide a color bridge to the burgundy enamel finish of the La Cornue range. Hand-built in France and decidedly not white, it seems perfectly at home in this English-style, decidedly American kitchen.

A burgundy 60-inch La Cornue Chateau range not only enhances the traditional look the homeowners were after, but also adds a splash of rich color.

the details

Designers: Robert Varca and Amy Matterazzo, Clive Christian Greenwich, Greenwich, Connecticut
Cabinets: Victorian-style, hand-painted cabinetry in ivory, made in England by Clive Christian. Wood appliqués by Enkeboll Designs
Countertops and backsplash: Hammered Jerusalem limestone counters, backsplash in Jerusalem limestone with limestone inserts, and tumbled limestone floor tiles, all from Kennedy Tile & Marble in Jersey City, New Jersey; teak plank counter with decorative edge on island by Brooks Custom in Mount Kisco
Appliances: La Cornue Chateau 150, 60-inch gas range in Burgundy porcelain enamel; two refrigerator/freezers and two additional refrigerator drawers from the Sub-Zero 700 integrated series; Sub-Zero 427R wine-storage unit with two refrigerator drawers; Spacesaver by GE microwave (in island); dishwashers by Miele
Faucets and sinks: Main sink and prep sink, both undermounted and of fireclay ceramic, by Shaws of Darwen in “Biscuit”; faucets and pot-filler in antique-bronze finish by Whitehaus Collection
Lighting: Crystal and patinated antique-bronze chandeliers by Clive Christian Greenwich




Modern and Magnificent in Pound Ridge

Carefully designed to create balance, the appliance wall features an integrated refrigerator and separate freezer that hide behind cabinet panels and flank two electric ovens, a speed oven, and a microwave.

A stint working at Armani Casa imprinted Lauren Sugar with a bent for a simple but sophisticated aesthetic. When the Pound Ridge resident and her husband, Jeffrey, decided to redo the kitchen of their 1980s contemporary, she knew exactly what she wanted: clean, contemporary, and white.

“I went to fifteen kitchen-design firms in Manhattan looking at cabinetry,” says Sugar, ultimately settling on Today’s Kitchens, based in Hartsdale and Stamford, Connecticut, which offers the Varenna line imported from Italy. Its sleek, streamlined look meshes perfectly with her penchant for contemporary design.

Sugar worked closely with designers Lorraine Frye and Jenny Sim, who share her appreciation for a modern, European look. “I love white—our master bath is all Thassos marble,” says Sugar, who admits to a brief flirtation with the idea of pickled oak. It seemed too busy, she says, and she quickly returned to the uncluttered and understated elegance of white.

“White kitchens are clean and calm,” Frye says. “A bowl of green apples on the counter becomes an art piece.”

Replacing a pantry with a full wall devoted to storage created an 18-by-13-foot space already blessed with a strip of windows that illuminates a semicircular breakfast area. Nonetheless, the white scheme played the starring role in visually expanding the room. Sugar chose flush-door, lacquered cabinets, accenting their minimalist design with recessed channels in lieu of applied pulls. Only the appliances require external handles.

Stainless steel plays a starring role in the kitchen, showing up on the counters, the appliances, and in the satin-finish range hood.

The Corian counter and undermounted sink maintain the snow-white scheme and horizontal lines. Likewise, white walls absent door and window moldings, and a milky glass backsplash on the sink wall further the room’s Zen-like serenity. “Too much gratuitous decoration can make a space feel smaller,” notes Frye. “Using a simple color palette achieves elegance and sophistication and is far from boring.”

Stainless steel plays a key supporting role, appearing in a polished version as the island countertop, as well as in the satin-finish cooktop hood and cooking appliances. The latter are flanked by an integrated refrigerator and separate freezer that hide behind cabinet panels. Finally, stainless-steel toe-kicks make the cabinets appear to hover over the pearly epoxy-painted floor. Applied over fiberboard, it took four days to dry—while the Sugars stayed in a hotel. The effect, which is as seamless as the rest of the design, was worth the wait.

the details

Designers: Lorraine Frye and Jenny Sim, Today’s Kitchens, Hartsdale and Stamford, Connecticut.
Cabinetry: Varenna/Poliform “Matrix” cabinets in lacquered Bianco
Countertops: Perimeter counters of Corian in “Glacier White”; stainless-steel counter on island with integral sink by Varenna/Poliform
Appliances: Speed oven, steam oven, two electric ovens, cooktop, and two dishwashers, all by Miele; refrigerator and freezer from integrated 700 Series by Sub-Zero; undercounter refrigerator and freezer drawers from U-Line; “Piatta” stainless-steel cooktop hood and backsplash of white glass by Varenna/Poliform
Faucets: “Suprimo” in stainless-steel finish, by KWC
Flooring: Epoxy painted floor by Extreme Concrete Design


Writer, editor, and packager Olivia Bell Buehl is based in Yorktown Heights. She recently produced Great American Kitchens, featuring the 50 winning kitchens from the Sub-Zero Wolf Design Contest.

Traditional and Contemporary Kitchens Photos by Steve Bering Wegener

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