The bachelor dot-com millionaire and his loft have become something of a Manhattan cliché. But for one lucky guy, as capable with pots as he is with bytes, designers Pierce Allen have fashioned not one but two gourmet kitchens in his Chelsea penthouse. “He can have two events going on at the same time,” says Allen, with a laugh. The almost-outdoor kitchen upstairs flows directly into a spectacular terrace, perfect for the urban version of a backyard barbecue. Downstairs, all shimmering stainless-steel surfaces, is for more elegant entertainments, lit for the mood du jour by a full-spectrum light well in the ceiling.
Just off lower Fifth Avenue, architect Erich Theophile of H. Theophile has whipped up a kitchen in a mouthwatering berry lacquer, returning an eighties open-plan cooking area to its prewar galley form. His client—Michael Sarkozi, whose father was a supplier to Zabar’s in the old days—wanted cooking banished to its own luxurious quarters. In Theophile’s hands, Sarkozi’s entire apartment has taken on gourmet hues: The dining room is upholstered in chocolate damask, the bedroom faced in coffee-colored mahogany. “A modern kitchen would look out of place,” Theophile says. “We needed something that would look fresh, but like it was always there.”
The kind of recycling Lorraine Kirke does is more aesthetic than ecological. Windows, liberated from walls, become cabinets; antique trolleys give up their wheels to kitchen islands, and pressed tin migrates from ceiling to backsplash. Her latest feat of antiquing is a well-stocked kitchen in a West Village walk-up, designed for a client with a suitable sense of nostalgia. The effect is a little bit country, a little bit French, and definitely urban, as the tight quarters required a miniature stove and a movable island to ensure room for the host and guests. Though it’s all new to the apartment, the end result looks as if it had always been there.
“I wanted to restore the kitchen to its original form, making it urbane but useful, with found objects and flea-market treasures. Recycling is good.” —Lorraine Kirke
Found in Space
The stove is there, to be sure, as well as a sink, but the other messy accoutrements of food productionÂ— refrigerator, pantry, even dishwasherÂ—seem to have disappeared. Even the island has gone on a slimming vacation, its heavy base reduced to three slender stainless-steel legs. The kitchen’s owner, an art collector, “wanted us to maximize the wall area while keeping the space very open. The kitchen needed to feel like part of the entertaining area,” says Miami-based architect René Gonzalez, who worked on the project with designer Amparo Vollert. The result: cooking transformed into performance art, a magic trick done for admiring guests who, for once, won’t notice they’re spending the whole party in the kitchen.
“The client wanted the kitchen to simultaneously disappear and have a presence.” —Amparo Vollert