The Calm in the Storm

Photo: David Allee

When Abby Rockefeller served dinner in this Donald Deskey Deco-styled penthouse, she never set foot in the kitchen; the staff would wend their way through a maze of rooms from stove to pantry to dining room. Later, when John and Betsy Whitney lived here, the kitchen was redesigned by Sister Parish. Today, it’s the home of a professional couple who actually want to live in their kitchen. They hired Studio Sofield to create modern functioning living spaces that would simultaneously preserve the integrity of the original architecture. Sofield “paid homage to the machine-age Donald Deskey design,” says designer William Sofield, while “reinterpreting the space for a contemporary family.” Since the couple entertains frequently, the space had to be practical but also play up the sweeping views and luxurious terraced spaces. And with young children, the materials had to be durable.

Illustration by Jason Lee

During demolition, the crew discovered the plumbing had to be reconfigured; Studio Sofield solved that by centralizing all the pipes and disguising them in a monumental cabinet that also provided much-needed storage. An eating area was created between the kitchen and pantry; that’s where the family now gathers to dine, play, and generally hang out. This kitchen hub, while incorporating luxe materials like nickel and granite, stays calm even when a dinner party for 50 is in full swing.

Photo: David Allee

1. Stove and Hood
The hood and vent of this commercial grade ten-burner Garland stove were custom-made from hammered nickel. A swing arm from the sink makes filling pots of water for pasta easy.

2. Floor
The waxed floor was made from end-grain oak, which is ideal for heavy traffic. Wood chunks were sliced individually and applied to planks.

3. Refrigerators
The kitchen has four stainless-steel Sub-Zeros along with a commercial fridge with glass doors from Traulsen.

4. Counters and Cabinets
The kitchen counters are made from Bethel white granite, which is durable, dense, and good for masking stains and scratches. The custom cabinets are outfitted in satin nickel and manufactured with milk glass from Galaxy Glass and Stone in Fairfield, New Jersey.

The Spice CabinetPhoto: David Allee

5. Spice Cabinet
Studio Sofield’s custom cabinet was manufactured out of satin nickel. The floating storage was engineered to mask plumbing while storing spices and cooking gadgets.

6. Ceiling
The stainless-steel molded fittings around the ceiling hide the air-conditioning ducts and mix well with the existing metal motif.

The Calm in the Storm