What’s Cooking

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 iswith bytes, designers Pierce Allen have fashioned notone but two gourmet kitchens in his Chelsea penthouse.“He can have two events going on at the sametime,” says Allen, with a laugh. Thealmost-outdoor kitchen upstairs flows directly into aspectacular terrace, perfect for the urban version ofa backyard barbecue. Downstairs, all shimmeringstainless-steel surfaces, is for more elegantentertainments, lit for the mood du jour by afull-spectrum light well in the ceiling.

Just off lower Fifth Avenue, architect ErichTheophile of H. Theophile has whipped up a kitchen in amouthwatering berry lacquer, returning an eightiesopen-plan cooking area to its prewar galley form. Hisclient—Michael Sarkozi, whose father was asupplier to Zabar’s in the old days—wantedcooking banished to its own luxurious quarters. InTheophile’s hands, Sarkozi’s entireapartment has taken on gourmet hues: The dining room is upholstered in chocolate damask, the bedroom facedin coffee-colored mahogany. “A modern kitchen would look out ofplace,” Theophile says. “We neededsomething that would look fresh, but like it wasalways 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 originalform, making it urbane but useful, with found objectsand flea-market treasures. Recycling is good.”—Lorraine Kirke

The stove is there, to be sure, as well as a sink, but the other messy accoutrements of food production— refrigerator, pantry, even dishwasher—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 simultaneouslydisappear and have a presence.” —AmparoVollert

See photos of the four kitchen designs>>>

Photographed by Fernando Bengoechea.

What’s Cooking