Before and After: A High-Contrast Kitchen

Many people spend three-quarters of their kitchen renovation budget buying new appliances on day one, but for Jill Goldhand, owner of Brooklyn and San Francisco furniture and accessories shop A&G Merch, all her small Cooper Square, NYC kitchen needed was a facelift. Goldhand commissioned now-LA-based Brandon Quattrone, West Coast Design Manager for SoulCycle, and Brooklyn-based Tyler Jorgenson, an architect at SHoP Architects, to complete the renovation (a collaborative side project to their full-time roles). "We basically took a kitchen with good bones and just upgraded all the finishes," says Quattrone. _header1 One of the first tasks was to get things straight. The existing kitchen floor was not level, so the designers selected a thick blackened steel that could be customized to even it out. "The steel was laser cut and had to be extremely precise to match the existing conditions, including the appliances and island," Jorgenson says. "The junction between the two panels is a really fine line, and they press together seamlessly," he says. "It feels like you're walking on concrete: it's nice and cold, but much easier to maintain." Blackened steel was also used in shelves on one wall, the only storage component that was added. "Aesthetically, the new shelves follow that same laser-cut language, and they were made out of the same basic stock material, so it's very thick," Jorgenson says. "That gives it kind of a material language throughout the whole kitchen." _header2 Another element of continuity is a three-inch stratum of countertop throughout the whole kitchen. Quattrone got a great deal on a white marble that resembles high-price statuary, the preeminent white stone, with a little more movement and browns in the veining at ABC Stone in Brooklyn. The marble isn't entirely three-inches-thick, but it's wrapped down, bookmatched on the ends. "We have that illusion of a really thick amazing three-inch edge," says Quattrone. The edge is repeated in the end-grain walnut butcher block and stainless steel integrated sink and countertop. "I think what really made it in the end was thickening those edges and making everything just a bit chunkier and meatier," Quattrone says. "We really allowed the materials to just be -- and not apologize for what they are." _header3 Quattrone grounded the room by painting the lower cabinets with Benjamin Moore's Deep Space. "It's just modern and deep and kind of moody," he says. "The apartment gets so much bright light that it was a great color to go between the blackened steel and super bright white cabinets, marble, and hand-glazed ceramic subway tiles. It really tied all of those things together in a really awesome way." Jorgenson points out that the high contrasts in the space are what ties it into the rest of the apartment: "Everything below your waist resembles the ground and the black lacquer wood floors -- which are, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful parts of the whole apartment -- and everything above the waist is really light and airy." The project is no doubt a lesson in visual dichotomy, but it also speaks to the value of simplicity. "The cool part about this kitchen was being really smart with pretty essential materials," Quattrone says. There are no flashy colors or patterns, no shiny gold cabinet hardware or a La Cornue stove, but laser-cut precision and heft make the small and narrow 200-square-foot kitchen appear remarkably grand. real-deal
Stainless Integrated Sink Specialty Stainless Steel Shelving Blck on Blck Walnut End Grain Countertop Chop Bloc
Steel Flooring Blck on Blck Bottom Cabinet Color "Deep Space" #2125-20 Benjamin Moore Upper Cabinet Color "Snow White" #OC-66 Benjamin Moore
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MGS Designs Spin Square Single Lever, $829, Designer Plumbing Tea Towel, $28, A&G Merch 6th Avenue White Gloss 3'' x 6'' Tile, Price Upon Request, Walker Zanger
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Lews Hardware Bar Pull, $8, My Knobs Factory Satellite 3, $359, Schoolhouse Electric Canister, $29, A&G Merch
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Aluminum Skull, $69, A&G Merch "Deep Space" #2125-20, From $37, Benjamin Moore Statuarietto Marble, Price Upon Request, ABC Stone
Photography: Reid Rolls