Professional Chef's Style Kitchen

At the famous swank Kips Bay Showhouse in Manhattan, Bilotta Kitchens shows how to up the ante to five stars. Here's a recipe for creating a highly functional kitchen without the super serious look.

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Designer Regina Bilotta wrapped the room in warm materials, added rich colors, included a cozy banquette, wine area and top cabinets without sparing any details, from globe lights and curved counters to lighted cabinetry and a wine area to stash bottles.

Describe the homeowners' wishlist.

The homeowners wanted a space that would work for large catered events as well as intimate family gatherings.

We designed the kitchen with a banquette area, plus an adjoining butler's pantry with wine storage and extra sink.

Browse This Stylish, Functional Chef's Kitchen

What were the homeowners' design problems?

The kitchen window is one-half below ground, facing the city street and sidewalk. We provided enough privacy, but didn't darken the room too much. The window is dressed with a translucent shade above an herb garden, decorated with a delicate hand-blown glass fixture.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

Aside from meeting the homeowner's expectations and producing the aesthetic desires, we needed to create a commerical-style, hard-working kitchen for the family's professional chef. We selected professional stainless steel appliances, including a 60-inch range, warming drawers, big refrigerator and wine cooler, as well as made the surrounding cabinets a warm cherry and used soft linen paint.

The main sink, although a large commercial size, was done in copper instead of the typical stainless in a chef's-style kitchen. The island top was done in a warm marble rather than colder stainless or Corian. The lighting was a mix of commercial hi-hats and hand-blown glass chandeliers. The backsplash at the stove was a sturdy but beautiful glass with copper backing, so it would be hard working but still look artistic.

What lessons did you learn?

How well the traditional finishes of the paneling in the banquette area mixed with the contemporary fabric and table base. Also, the mix of metals, stainless steel and copper really worked well together for an overall classic panache that will look good for years.

What are the "hidden gems"?

Interesting shapes and mixes of the materials for the three different backsplashes by Artistic Tile: two in the kitchen and the third in the butler's pantry; a real mix of contemporary and traditional cabinets.

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