Serving Up Three Spectacular Kitchens

These kitchens won at the 2022 CTC&G IDAs.

Kitchen Design

Winner: Nautilus Architects

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Photography by Bill Crofton

A new recipe was needed to make the existing footprint for this kitchen and dining space function and look better. The Nautilus team refers to the room as originally having a “too-tall sloped ceiling leading to nowhere.” And, yet, the room’s height is one of its best features. “The ’80s-style contemporary house gave us the opportunity to introduce dramatic height in the kitchen environment,” explains Christopher Arelt, of Nautilus Architects. “I opted for the empty space to remain the protagonist.” By reworking the very geometry of the space, the architects created a harmonious, voluminous roof coursed by an even 12-foot ceiling. A dropped ash beam demarcates distinct working/living/dining areas. The room easily accommodates an 11-foot island with dual waterfall ends, generously scaled 36-inch-square porcelain floor tiles, and bold rectangular cabinetry. The architects chose ash wood, neutral glass tiles, and light gray solid surfaces as a way to “convey a Zen-like serenity upon the space,” adds Arelt. Walls of black-framed sliding doors foster an interplay between indoors and out.

Finalist: Robert Dean Architects 

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Photography by Neil Landino Jr.

In keeping with the prevailing English Edwardian–style architecture of this former carriage house, the reinvented kitchen could easily be a period piece out of Britain, yet the room remains firmly rooted in today’s Fairfield County. Although the architects speak of the structure as having “great bones,” the kitchen area was one composed of cramped, oddly shaped rooms. The architectural team doubled the original kitchen, a process accomplished largely by expanding the footprint to capture and envelop a former wraparound porch.

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Photography by Neil Landino Jr.

Subsequent room was found to build a butler’s pantry and breakfast area, the latter now incorporating views of the rear garden. Ceilings reach 10 feet in the main kitchen workspace with cabinetry detail- ing that references the glazing on the porch. Cabinets in the butler’s pantry assume a more formal character and configuration, rising all the way to the ceiling, though interspersed with multi-paned glass-fronted units. Color is used in a clever fashion to further distinguish work and storage areas—with light grays used in the main kitchen area and a rich teal in the butler’s pantry.

Finalist: DEANE, Inc.

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Photography by Paul Johnson

When reconfiguring this kitchen, nothing, not even a soup bowl or tea kettle, was allowed to block views of Long Island Sound. One method for ensuring this was to build open steel shelving units that maximized storage space while also preserving the water views. Peter Deane designed blackened- steel, open-shelf units over the island and as upper cabinetry flanking the hood to maintain a prevailing sense of light and airiness. While the kitchen itself is, indeed, a distinctive area of the home, it melds seamlessly with the adjacent living and dining areas.

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Photography by Paul Johnson

The slab-front cabinets with stainless-steel hardware are made of a gray/white rift oak that serves to soften the room as a whole. Clean-lined Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances—along with a sink from the Galley—work to make the space modern and industrial in feel, though intimate, even cozy. Black granite countertops with a Venetian finish add a dash of texture and visual interest to the room. While cooking and dining, scenic Long Island Sound remains in full view.