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DECOR SCORE- Ways to Win the Inner Space Race PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert   
Thursday, 01 November 2012 05:28


Reconfigured walls and glass cabinets floating over a new pass-through serve up a lighter, brighter kitchen in the same floor space.

Q: We are finally planning a kitchen makeover in the ski house we bought just before The Downturn. Our plan is to open up the kitchen area to the rest of the living room. Money's still tight. Are we crazy to do this without professional help — an architect or professional contractor?

A: I'd say yes! In fact, you can't even get a work permit without proper plans, let alone pass building code standards ... all of which is routine for pros, such as architects, contractors, and — here's a category that may be new to you — certified kitchen designers (CKDs).

CKDs are designers whose skills meet the high professional standards set by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). A click on will bring up a list of certified designers in your area.

On the New York City list, for example, you'd find InHouse Kitchen Bath Home, the firm for which designer Kent Brasloff created the clever kitchen makeover we show here.

"Aspen ski lodge meets New York City loft," Kent calls the finished project, in deference to the apartment's smashing 39thfloor view. That view was lost on the poor cook, who had been cloistered behind a solid wall. "Poor access and poor layout made this a limited-use kitchen," Kent says.

So he moved some walls around, opened up others and added a completely new workstation. Most inventive: the lighted glass "wall" cabinets where there's no wall at all. Instead, the cabinets simply float over the pass-through area. Custom-made by Wood-Mode Cabinetry (, they offer storage enough to make the apartment kitchen over into a "productive and efficient cook/serve space," as Kent now describes the clean, welllighted kitchen.

Q: Need more makeover tips?

A: HGTV designer Libby Langdon ("Small Space, Big Style") offered a wealth of bright space-making ideas to members of the International Furnishings and Design Association ( meeting last week at the Resource Furniture Showroom in Manhattan — inarguably the most spacestarved city in the civilized world.

Filled wall-to-wall with ingenious space-makers, Resource Furniture (www.resourcefurniture. com) was the perfect showcase for Libby, also author of "Small Space Solutions." Among her room-stretching suggestions:

• First, unclutter! "It's the first thing we do (on TV) when we start a makeover. Everyone has too much stuff — are we all afraid that if we throw anything away, we'll forget something? Like my client who still had her grown daughter's Girl Scouts Brownie uniform. Keep a photo of her wearing it; toss the old uniform!"

• Unclutter a little every day. "Set a timer for l5 minutes, make a drink, work on one drawer, one shelf, one area at a time (but I bet you just can't stop!)."

• Use big, BIG mirrors. Hang them near windows to reflect daylight. Put lamps nearby so their light reflects at night. "Big mirrors don't have to be expensive," says Libby (she often finds hers at Home Depot).

• Think vertical. Libby favors floating shelves, floor-to-ceiling, and medicine cabinets bunched on a wall: "They're shallow — about seven inches — with mirrored backs and glass shelves that look open and light."

"You can hang literally anything on the wall," the designer promises, such as one client's collection of 40 antique typewriters. "Imagine, 40 typewriters in a tiny New York apartment!"

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the coauthor of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 05:38