From the February/March 2020 Issue  

Modern Meets Classic in a Franklin Lakes Kitchen

Writer Ren Miller  |  Photographer Peter Rymwid  |  Designer Peter Salerno  |  Location Franklin Lakes, NJ

Two islands take center stage in this Franklin Lakes kitchen. One is a workhorse that includes a sink, dishwasher, garbage container and eating area. The other is primarily for serving when the family entertains.

A kitchen honors the classic architecture of a new Franklin Lakes home while meeting a modern family’s needs

Dr. Albert and Brynn Khalaf wanted a sophisticated and classic kitchen in keeping with the French chateau style of their new home in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. However, they didn’t want to compromise on everyday function.

That was the challenge they presented to Peter Salerno, a certified master kitchen and bath designer and owner of Peter Salerno Inc. in Wyckoff, New Jersey, when they chose him to design the kitchen. Construction of the home was already under way when Salerno joined the project, and the coffered ceiling was already installed.

At 26 by 20 feet, the kitchen gave Salerno plenty of room to work. His inspiration?

“The architecture of the home was the driving force in the kitchen design,” he says. “Barrel-vaulted hallways and a towering paneled fireplace in the family room were connected to the kitchen and needed to have an uninterrupted flow.”

Within that architectural framework, Salerno set about meeting the Khalafs’ needs for everyday use as well as for entertaining. “The main goal was to have a functional workspace—my wife is an avid cook,” Albert Khalaf says. “We also wanted the kitchen to be suitable for entertaining so we now have two islands. “One incorporates a sink, dishwasher and garbage container, as well as leather stools where our children, ages 9 and 12, have breakfast and lunch and where we have a lot of our family meals. The other island is for entertaining. We set it up as a buffet where guests can circulate and help themselves to appetizers, cocktail-hour style.”

Both islands are painted a very pale blue gray for contrast in the otherwise white kitchen. They have 1¼-inch-thick doors, furniture-style base moldings and Mont Blanc quartzite countertops with an ogee edge over a half bullnose built-up edge. The island that is used as a server has clipped corners, applied circular moldings on the side panels and tall, slender corbels. While classic in form, the islands speak to today’s style. “The trends for corbels have been moving to simple lines without sacrificing scale and proportion,” Salerno says. “And note the serving island has simple lines like the island with the seating, but it has a shallow profile while still keeping a bold scale.”

“The perimeter cabinetry is painted white and was selected to flow into the beautiful coffered ceiling and to act as a simple backdrop to the two blue islands,” he adds. The upper cabinetry includes some glass doors that display the family’s wine glass collection and give the kitchen an added dimension. Cabinetry to the left of the range was designed to look like a china cabinet. “The Khalafs wanted the cabinet to look like a beautiful piece of furniture,” Salerno recalls. “He had a photograph of mullion doors on a china cabinet. That evolved into a layered cabinet with doors, drawers, pilasters, capitals and base molding.” The six-burner range sits in a hearth-like recess.

The Khalafs also called on some other professionals for help with specific parts of the kitchen.  Interior designer Vanessa DeLeon provided  input on the chandeliers, counter stools and wall color. Heidi Arpacilar of Marmiro Stones designed the range backsplash of waterjet-cut marble tiles with mother-of-pearl accents and chose oval mother-of-pearl tiles to cover narrow panels beside and above the range hood. Designer Robert So designed the coffered ceiling, archways and columns.

The kitchen includes a work station (not pictured) “where the kids can do some homework while my wife and I cook,” Khalaf says. “The idea is that we can be together all the time.”

The radiuses and circles used throughout the design tie into the architecture and the coffered ceiling. “The idea was not to overdo the curves,” Salerno says, “so everything was linear except for the island ends and the hutch, and this was done for greater impact.

“The flow of the kitchen and its multiple working stations make it a welcoming environment for the cooks in the family,” Salerno says.