CARLE PLACE, NY – When Mario J. Mulea, CR, set out to reconstruct the third floor of the landmark OHEKA Chateau building, located in Carle Place, NY, he found an especially daunting challenge and an opportunity.
The area designated for a small auxiliary kitchen was oddly shaped to say the least. With only 74 square feet of space, total, and less than seven feet wide, at that, the space had a staggeringly tall 17-foot ceiling, making it seem more like a shoebox than the cozy kitchen it would eventually become.
Despite the room’s unique dimensions, though, Mulea, of the New Hyde Park, NY-based Kitchen Designs by Ken Kelly Inc., pursued a design that would utilize “simple but hardy elements,” capturing an Old World feel in “a relaxed family space reminiscent of days gone by.”
In terms of color, Mulea took his cues from nature, including terracotta and warm cream, along with a sun dappled wall glaze of pale buttercream. The Old World look also manifests itself in the antique reproductions and handmade materials which are used throughout.
The floor features modern ceramic tile from Stoneworks Tile and Bath Galleries, installed in a brick-bond pattern produced from actual photographs of an antique terracotta floor that have been silk-screened to the tile substrate. A custom terracotta, marble and ceramic wall arch from Nocera Art Tile through Stonework is reminiscent of the wall fountain of a old European village.
Mulea blended simple yet hardy looks for his approach to the uniquely-proportioned space. Distressed pine beams re-humanized the space while perfectly complementing a bank of Wood-Mode excess recessed cabinets. The double layer of distressed cabinets features a mellow, multi-layered finish of Oyster Bay Dark Glaze, for a sophisticated yet relaxed feel.
The two rows of cabinetry serve separate needs in the space: The bottom layer is more utilitarian, while the upper bank is reserved for family heirlooms and treasured collectibles from jaunts abroad.
Two doorways and a diminutive interior width precluded a gallery style kitchen; instead, an Mulea utilized an efficient L-shaped arrangement. To give this interior space some natural daylight, two large skylights were then installed. Floodlighting from above simulates the sun during the evening hours and overcast days.
The homey, old-style feel also carries over to the sink and countertop area. Although the Rohl Corp. farmhouse sink is new, it was formulated through the original mold process of 1897, and cast in the original fire clay material. Complementing the sink is a Rohl wall-mounted reproduction faucet and a honed, matte-finish granite, Indian Parana from Nicola Design Studio. Mulea notes that it’s durable enough for daytime activities, while the honing process makes an elegant design statement and lends warmth to the look of the granite.
Modern conveniences in the kitchen are provided by an array of KitchenAid appliances, which feature flush designs in the cooktop, under-counter oven, refrigerator and dishwasher, allowing the appliances to blend seamlessly into surrounding cabinetry.
Additional resources for the project include Kitchen Design by Ken Kelly, Inc., who installed the cabinetry, and Arena Tile and Marble, who handled the floor and backsplash installation. Craftsmen Home Decorating provided the wall and ceiling treatment, while Capuano Appliance was the source for KitchenAid and Rohl products. Data Carpet and Williams-Sonoma provided the tapestry wall hanging and kitchen accessories, respectively.
Overall, Mulea believes the space thoroughly lives up to its moniker, “Countryside Cuisine” a feast for the eye concocted from the simplest of ingredients.