From the February/March 2014 Issue:

Simply Beautiful

    Writer: Robin Amster | Photographer: Peter Rymwid | Designers: Robert Legere and Krysti Pitterman |

Designers give homeowners a fuss-free kitchen to match their lifestyle

Article Photo
enlarge | A glass-topped table features an angular metal base painted to resemble silvery-gray zinc. The chairs have polished stainless steel frames and gray vinyl seats. The grays echo the charcoal-stained obeche cabinetry and the shimmer of a frosted mirror mosaic backsplash.
Designers Robert Legere and Krysti Pitterman were called in to renovate a generic kitchen with oak cabinetry and little chandeliers. The kitchen in the Colonial-style Marlboro home was nice enough, but the homeowners felt it was time for a change. Legere and Pitterman couldn’t have agreed more. Legere, creative director, and Pitterman, vice president and design director, for Asbury Park-based Robert Legere Design, have carved out a niche for themselves specializing in contemporary design. “So many people are doing layered kitchens with corbels, carvings, over-the-top features; it’s not in our style range,” Legere says. “Most of our clients want something that’s easy to take care of, beautiful, simple and less fussy.”

Pitterman adds, “It’s a testament to changing lifestyles. There’s more emphasis on family and interaction and creating a home conducive to that.”

Article Photo
enlarge | Cabinetry of exotic African obeche wood stained dark charcoal plays against the kitchen’s many white elements: the island’s base cabinets, the countertops, the backsplash and the flooring. The designers introduced texture at every turn to ensure the space wouldn’t be too cold. The island cabinetry is striated, the counter­tops are white with gray marbling, and the porcelain tile floor has the look of white-washed wood. The show-stopper is a shimmery backsplash of mosaic mirrors with a frosted finish.
Open Plan
The Marlboro homeowners have two children and often host dinners for 25 people or more, Pitterman says. The goal from the start was to create an open plan in contrast to the former layout, where “the rooms were too segregated and hard to manage for a big group of people,” Legere says.

The designers originally were charged with renovating the kitchen. That project grew to include the entire back of the home, comprising the family room, a full bathroom, a home office and a mudroom and laundry.

The designers’ kitchen renovation included changing the footprint of the original. The island was reconfigured to extend into the breakfast area. A knee wall between the kitchen and family room was removed, a bay window was replaced with sliding doors to the outdoor patio and a picture window took the place of a smaller window above the sink. Finally, the powder room was removed to add more space to the kitchen, and a full bathroom was added off the kitchen with direct access to the pool outside.

Modern European Design
“The kitchen is influenced by modern European design with clean lines, a minimalistic approach to color and an emphasis on texture,” Pitterman says.

The homeowners wanted a dramatic look and were leaning toward a black-and-white color scheme. “It’s a classic combination but it’s pretty severe,” Legere says. He steered them instead toward a more subdued palette for a “softer feeling and a longer life.”

The design team used cabinetry of obeche, an exotic African wood stained dark charcoal. Because the natural wood takes the stain in different ways, the color ranges from navy to charcoal with golden highlights, Pitterman says. Several glass-door cabinets contrast with the dark drama of the wood. The kitchen’s many white elements add additional contrast, including the island, the perimeter and island countertops, the backsplash and the flooring.

To keep the white from “becoming too cold,” Legere says, the designers created a play of textures. The island cabinetry has a striated texture, for example. The man-made quartz countertops are white with gray marbling that is more pronounced on the island countertop. The floor is porcelain tile with the look of whitewashed wood.

The designers upped the drama quotient with a custom backsplash of tiny frosted mirror mosaics, adding subtle shimmer to the space.

Appliances are set flush with the cabinetry and, to reduce the amount of stainless steel, several are placed behind cabinetry panels, including the dishwasher, dishwasher drawers and refrigerator drawers.

Completing the sleek look of the space is a glass-topped table with a metal base that has a painted finish resembling silvery-gray zinc. Chairs with a polished stainless steel frame have gray vinyl seats.
The designers used integrated multispot LED recessed lighting throughout the kitchen to highlight the cabinetry and provide task lighting. Double-shaded pendants—with an outer layer of silver organza and an inner layer of white fabric—crown the island, while a doughnut-shaped fixture of polished stainless steel sits over the table.

Robin Amster, a frequent contributor to Design NJ, is a Madison-based writer and editor.


Design, Robert Legere Design in Asbury Park; cabinetry, Signature Custom Cabinetry in Ephrata, Pennsylvania; countertops, Cambria in Le Sueur, Minnesota; backsplash, Susan Jablon in Binghamton, New York; flooring, Fiandre Architectural Surfaces through Robert Legere Design; island and table pendant fixtures, Sonneman in Newburgh, New York; dining table, Vanguard in Conover, North Carolina; dining chairs, Palecek in Richmond, California; appliances: Sub-Zero refrigerator, Miele dishwasher, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawer, Ventahood range hood and Wolf range, microwave, warming drawer and convection steamer, all through Ferguson Appliance, Kitchen, Bath & Light Center in Lakewood.

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