Thoroughly Modern Kitchen, Only Warmer
Rebekah Zaveloff fulfills the vision of a decisive client who wants minimalist design without the cold and is willing to take chances.
- By Rose Kennedy
Filed under: Kitchen Design, Kitchen Tile, Room Design, Kitchens, Modern, Ceramic Tiles, Design Style
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"The client wanted something minimal and modern, but at the same time warm, not cold or austere." One material that fulfilled both needs: maple with a charcoal stain. "You get the warmth of the wood grain, but the coolness of the color adds to the modern ambiance," says Rebekah. "It was almost a fluke the way the bottom layer of maple with its yellow undertone and the top coat of charcoal blended into something like a new color, a blue, greenish-gray."
First, Rebekah emphasizes, "the stone is absolutely gorgeous." That said, white limestone is not the type of counter she would ever recommend to a homeowner. "But my client was convinced that's what he had to have and so we used it, even though limestone is very porous and has to be treated very, very carefully or it gets stained or chipped." The French Vanilla slab came from Belstone; Rebekah engaged local fabricators to turn it into an island top that's modern and sleek but still looks natural.
For a similar look that's not so tough to maintain, she would advise using marble or limestone, but in a beige color.
Be careful with ceramic tile in a retrofit
One of the hallmarks of Rebekah's design is handmade ceramic tile that goes clear to the ceiling. "It's beautiful and easy to care for as long as you seal the grout — a great modern kitchen surface," she says. "But it's tricky to install in a remodel unless you're gutting the walls. It's tough to get the tiles to line up in a straight stacked pattern and the existing wall itself might not be even."
For this design to succeed, Rebekah hired a very talented tile installer who had to mud a bit to make the walls suitable for tiling. "Anytime you're dealing with tile on the wall in a grid pattern, mistakes are very obvious," she says. "That's why I recommend smaller, handmade tiles, where any flaws are part of the appeal. I would also hire an artisan to install, someone who will give extra special thought to the layout."
One thing that won't help is the carved moldings or caps that do-it-yourselfers traditionally use to hide flaws in the tilework. "In a modern application of tile, the traditional details are a big no-no — they'd just look awful," says Rebekah.
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