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With the Grain

A wood-clad urban kitchen full of equatorial warmth.

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Although its lines are Donald Judd, the real inspiration for this Union Square kitchen (part of a 2,000-square-foot loft) comes from south of the equator, and halfway around the world. Owner Ananda Ellis’s mother is from Goa; Ellis wanted her home to reflect that heritage. She and architect Julie Torres Moskovitz of Fabrica 718 looked at the work of Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa and themed the apartment “tropical modern.” That meant dark wood, teak in the living areas, walnut in the kitchen, and clean lines that would not distract from her collection of South Asian furniture and Indian-themed art. Moskovitz collaborated with Golden Calf Renovations to create the cabinets and the matching ten-foot granite-and-walnut table. Storage lost by not having a closed island was gained in the high upper cupboards. Ellis, who owns the meatpacking-district wine bar Ara, can entertain in the kitchen by pulling stools up to the slab. “If I want to have a really big dinner party, I can fill two tables,” says Ellis—who’s enough of a hostess to have actually done so. “They are close enough that everyone still feels like they are part of the same party.”

(1.) Light fixture
This anodized aluminum Stilo 40 fixture, made by Xenon, is often used in commercial installations.

(2.) Sink
Moskovitz persuaded Ellis to order a Blanco sink with square corners (rather than the usual curves).

(3.) Backsplash
A five-inch granite backsplash partly protects the wall behind the counter.

(4.) Cabinets
A minimalist trick for hardware-free storage: The uppers hang one inch below the lowest shelf, so there is space for Ellis to flip out the doors.

(5.) Counter
The flamed finish Moskovitz selected for the “absolute black” granite is pebbled, rather than shiny and smooth, which makes it more rustic, less bank-teller.

(6.) Table
The ten-by-three-foot table weighs over 500 pounds and had to be brought up in the freight elevator in pieces.


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