From the December/January 2013 Issue:

The Art of Cabinetry

    Writer: Meg Fox | Photographer: Peter Rymwid | Kitchen & Bath Designer: Peter Salerno, CMKBD |

An award-winning kitchen and bath designer builds a showroom full of energy, artistry and surprises

When Peter Salerno, a certified master kitchen and bathroom designer, decided to update his Wyckoff showroom, the word “update” took on a whole new meaning, he says. Triple the size of the old one and with more than double the office space, the new Peter Salerno Inc. showroom in Wyckoff is a complete design center that showcases the most advanced technology and innovative design features.

“As a child, my dream was to be an artist,” Salerno says. After being in the kitchen and bath industry for over 30 years, he feels he has fulfilled that dream by creating what he calls an “art gallery through cabinetry.” Furniture-quality cabinets are custom made, and the vignettes showcase an assortment of styles and cutting-edge designs that demonstrate the industry’s latest trends. All components—from heating to music and lighting—are controlled from a main panel, iPhone or iPad.

“Every client’s dream is to have a unique kitchen no matter what the budget,” Salerno says. In the past 15 years he and his staff of five designers have received over 20 national awards while working to grant those dreams, the most recent being the 2012 Kitchen of the Year award from the National Kitchen and Bath Association. “I can create an outstanding kitchen for a client with a budget of $50,000 or an award-winning kitchen for a client with an unlimited budget,” he says.

He credits his travels throughout Europe, attendance at worldwide industry shows and exposure to industry leaders. “Today our industry is being driven by creativity and design,” he says, adding that clients are not afraid to combine colors or elements such as metal and wood, concrete and glass. It’s about achieving a “wow” factor for homeowners who want to make an individual style statement. “It’s a new frontier,” he says.

Car Bar
• A shiny red 1959 Corvette— with only its front end intact —became the muse for a one-of-a-kind car bar. With a push of a button, the headlights flash on and off, the hood opens and a bar sink rises up.

• The garage door opens to reveal a martini glass niche. Reclaimed bricks from an old factory frame the wall.

• A tool chest from Home Depot, retrofitted with a Sub-Zero refrigerator drawer below and a Miele coffee maker on top, drives home the theme, as does the concrete floor, which was dyed and textured to resemble asphalt.

Pet Friendly
• Painted cabinet finishes are popular choices. This combination of sage green and cherry cabinetry would suit both traditional and transitional settings. The countertop is a distinctive green fossilized limestone.

• Reverse-painted finishes pop on the back wall of glass-front doors.

• “Pet owners go crazy” for the doghouse feature, Salerno says. The side of the doghouse has two doors that open to a closet for pet sweaters, raincoats, leashes and collars.

• The framed archway’s traditional aesthetic features acanthus leaf detail and carved crown molding. Minus the carvings, the opposite side of the archway demonstrates a simpler, cleaner profile.

Old World for Today
• A dramatic groin-vaulted brick ceiling with barn wood beams (center) sets the stage for this Old World kitchen featuring custom Habersham cabinetry, hand-scraped wood floors and highly textured plaster walls.

• The countertop along the cooktop is thick 2½-inch Noce stone. The niche behind the cooktop contains an unexpected feature: a remote-controlled television lift.

• Made of concrete, the thick island countertop resembles limestone. The base of the island is painted a contrasting winter sky blue, which harmonizes with the hues in the stone backsplash.

• The island countertop features a surprise element: 9,000 fiber-optic lights that create a moving scene of waves washing upon the shore and a seagull flying across the upper section. “The scene is synchronized with the sound of waves and a gull’s cry,” says Salerno, who collaborated on the animation with filmmaker Anthony Salerno and concrete artisan Jeff Kundrick.

• Custom wine storage (left) is popular not just in dedicated wine cellars but anywhere wine is served, such as in a niche off a main living area or dining room, Salerno says. This custom mahogany unit (left) stores up to 200 bottles in room-temperature cubbies and in the undercounter refrigerator.

• Inspired by European interiors that often combine old and new, Salerno paired a recycled glass countertop with a contemporary walnut base in a chic espresso finish and European tapered legs (right).

• The hood (right) is an artful blend of new corrugated steel and vintage tin from an old ceiling in Chicago. Rivets scrapped from old railroad ties hold the components together and hail from 1932 and 1934, the years Salerno’s parents were born. “It’s all about symbolism” and capturing that personal element or detail, he says.

Stainless Sophistication
• Stainless steel rises to a new level of sophistication in this edgy kitchen defined by a shapely island, counter­tops and integrated sink—all made of the metal. The exotic African Lacewood cabinetry is anchored by a Sub-Zero glass-front refrigerator at left and a stacked Wolf oven, microwave and warming drawer at right.

• “The ceiling is an important part of the final product and should reinforce the design,” says Salerno, who designed three tiers with LED lights to echo the shape of the island.

• To set the desired mood, the clear glass backsplash can change to any color thanks to advanced LED technology.

Route 66
• The hood—wrapped in circa 1920 tin from an old filling station on Route 66 in Arizona—is the “jewel” of this kitchen, Salerno says. The ceiling and refrigerator panels are made from the same recycled material. Handmade in France, the blue La Cornue range and rotisserie also command attention.

• Painted buttermilk cabinets are juxtaposed with a walnut island base and are layered with detailed embellishments such as curved mullioned doors, undercounter corbels, pilaster pullout spice racks and apothecary drawers. The Jerusalem Gray Gold countertops are 2½ inch thick with a double ogee edge.

• The soffit above the island mimics its contours and features hand-applied Swarovski crystals that twinkle from the ceiling.

Concrete Design
• “Vanities are becoming sleeker and sleeker,” Salerno says. Made of concrete and treated with a high-gloss finish, this T-shaped vanity is embedded with a fossil shell and has high-tech fiber-optic lights that change color. The floating storage drawers open with a simple touch latch and are made of exotic zebrawood. The linear glass tile backsplash and pendant lights are other fashionable design trends.

Rustic yet Refined
• Rustic meets refined with stained, glazed and heavily distressed knotty butternut cabinetry chosen for its warmth and graining. The cabinets above the sink have chicken-wire doors and small apothecary drawers for a country feel. Hand-hammered pewter nail heads are used in the corners of the doors and drawers. The 3-inch thick counter is hand-dyed concrete that flows into a handmade concrete farm sink. The backsplash is a tumbled marble mosaic, and the flooring is a complementary copper slate tile.

Updated Tradition
• This display is painted bright white for a “crisp and vibrant twist on an otherwise traditional style,” Salerno says. The English farm sink is flanked with custom pilasters; “X” mullion doors on each side of the frosted glass window add drama and interest. The countertop is a 2½-inch thick Calcutta gold marble with a 1¼-inch thick concave-cornered backsplash. Knobs are polished nickel, “the hottest new metal,” Salerno says. The tiled floor simulates wood in 4-inch-wide planks.

• To achieve a look of antiquity, this woman’s vanity was treated with a seven-step finishing process. The oval mirror —beveled and framed with carved acanthus leaves and recessed paneled pilasters—enhances the period feel, as does the brass wire mesh-front doors and Italian Quartzite countertop. A mix of pulls and brass butterfly knobs provides the finishing touch. The floor is wide-planked, hand-scraped knotty cherry.

Edgy & Cool
• Graffiti was chosen for its edgy art form in a totally theme-driven bathroom designed to capture a New York City vibe. “By the use of colors, shapes and materials, a simple space became a three-dimensional painting,” says Salerno, who collaborated with a noted graffiti artist Vik on the design. The light fixture over the sink—cut and partially recessed into the wall—disappears into the wall painting. An accent wall in corrugated steel enhances the street feel, as does a series of industrial accents. The floor is faux asphalt— complete with a manhole cover—fabricated out of concrete.

Kitchen & Bath Trends
• Designs with a wow factor
• Design elements with symbolic significance and personalization
• Concrete countertops, sinks, floors
• Reclaimed and recycled materials
• Mix it up (Old World/contemporary, paint/stain, rustic/refined)
• Sparkle factor (LED lights, fiber-optic lights in countertops, crystals in lighting fixtures and on ceiling)
• Stainless steel islands and countertops in addition to appliances
• Wine storage in living areas
• Remote control lifts (televisions, bar sinks)
• Accommodations for pets
• Ceilings designed as the fifth wall
• Induction cooktops
• Exotic woods
• High-sheen finishes
• Color-infusion behind glass


Design, custom cabinetry, Habersham cabinetry and La Cornue appliances, Peter Salerno Inc. in Wyckoff; all concrete applications (sinks, countertops, flooring), Jeff Kundrick of J&M Lifestyles LLC in Randolph; custom tin hood, ceiling and refrigerator panels, Amy Macar of Simply Amy LLC in Milford; all tile, glass and stone backsplashes, and stone, wood and tile flooring, Nicole Sakosits of Stratta the tile boutique in Wyckoff; stone countertops, Stone Surfaces Inc. in East Rutherford; appliances, (Miele, Sub-Zero, Viking and Wolf), Oberg & Lindquist Corp. in Westwood and Wyckoff; hardware, Hardware Designs Inc. in Fairfield; audio, visual and lighting integration and hydraulic car lift, iTec Consultants LLC in Matawan; lighting design, Robert Newell Lighting Design in Westfield; groin-vaulted brick ceiling, Joe Costantin and Jack Wright of J. Costantin Architecture LLC in Morristown; stainless steel fabricator, Marlo Manufacturing in Boonton; decorative plaster wall finish and painting, PaintTek Quality Painting Inc. in Dunellen (T); graffiti artist, Vik (; barn wood ceiling beams, Southend Building Products in Cornelius, North Carolina; building architect, Zampolin & Associates in Westwood; electrical installation, Able Electric Co. Inc. in?Washington Township. T=To the Trade

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