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New Americana Kitchen

A Southern grocery-store counter from the 1920s transformed into an island inspires a superfunctional space.

The look of this Manhattan loft kitchen started with a rather old- fashioned object: a solid pine counter from a 1920s Southern grocery store ($7,000 from Penine Hart Antiques & Art; 212-226-2602 or peninehart.com). When interior designer Eldon Wong spotted the wooden relic, he decided to turn it into the island in a client’s kitchen and use it as inspiration for the rest of the room. He kept the original decorative cornices and molding intact but trimmed the length and removed shelving, saving the leftover wood to panel the Asko dishwasher ($1,200; 800-898-1879 or askousa.com). Where there was once a cash register and drawer, Wong installed a Franke apron-front sink and double-lever gooseneck faucet ($875 for sink, $1,355 for faucet; 800-626-5771 or frankeksd.com). “It was like a great recycling project,” he says of the repurposing, part of the trend toward more eco-conscious kitchens. The custom cabinets from 9J Builder (212-966-7952) feature diamond-wire glass—similar to the chicken-wire glass used for pie-display cases in early-20th-century groceries ($22 per sq ft from Rosen-Paramount Glass; 212-532-0820 or rosenparamountglass.com). In this kitchen, however, they showcase the owner’s collections of china and stemware. The cabinets, which extend up to the extra-high 13-foot ceilings, have another function as well: “Glass makes the kitchen feel big and airy,” explains Wong. “But the space is only about 225 square feet.” Eldon Wong Design; 917-494-1005.

Dining Chairs

Dining Chairs

The loft’s owner found the walnut Gothic Revival chairs, circa 1890, at the Manhattan auction house Tepper Galleries. $395 each, plus restoration; 212-677-5300 or teppergalleries.com.

Lighting

The early-19th-century crystal chandelier was purchased at Stockholm’s Auktionsverk, the world’s oldest auction house. $3,800 for chandelier; 011-46-8-453-67-50 or auktionsverket.se.

Island Lighting

Island Lighting

The blown Murano-glass “Acquatinta” pendant by Michele de Lucchi illuminates the sink. $670 from Ameico; 888-350-8765 or ameico.com.

Countertops

The grocer’s-counter-turned-island is topped with Carrara marble, while the countertop and backsplash on the kitchen perimeter are honed black granite. Wong says he opted for black and white counters because “glass cabinet shelves can make a room look busy, so they need to be offset with a neutral backdrop.” From SMC Stone; 718-599-2999 or smcstone.com.

Bookshelf Pulls

Bookshelf Pulls

The card-holder pulls are from a Paris hardware store, but B&M Hardware makes similar pulls and card holders. $3.15 from Simon’s Hardware & Bath; 888-274-6667 or simons-hardware.com.

Pull-Out Pantry

Pantry

Wong uses narrow spaces ingeniously: The custom six-foot-tall pull-out pantry is accessible from both sides. Its sturdy hand-cast bronze handle is from Rocky Mountain Hardware. “You’re pulling it every day, so you want something textured and heavy,” says Wong. $77; 888-788-2013 or rockymountain hardware.com.

Wine Refrigerator

The Viking wine fridge topped with honed black granite doubles as a bar when the owner entertains. $2,900; 888-845-4641 or vikingrange.com.

Refrigerator

“Freezer drawers are great for organizing—things don’t get lost in the back,” says Wong, who opted for a 27-inch Sub-Zero with two freezer drawers. From $5,545; 800-222-7820 or subzero.com.

Flooring

The Southern yellow-pine floor is similar to the pine on the grocer’s counter, except for the delicate red growth rings—a touch of unexpected color. $.90 per ft from Gueydan Lumber & Plywood; 800-323-0152.

Glass Cabinets

Glass Cabinets

The Emtek octagonal glass knobs complement the diamond-wire glass of the cabinets, which mimic old-fashioned grocery displays. $13.20 each from Simon’s Hardware & Bath; 888-274-6667 or simons-hardware.com.

Cutting-Board Drawers

Hood and Stove

Wong installed a Vent-A-Hood Professional Series hood above a 36-inch Viking stove. $990 for hood; 800-331-2492 or ventahood.com. $8,750 for stove; 888-845-4641 or vikingrange.com.

Pull-Out Prep: Cutting-Board Drawers

Four maple and two marble cutting boards are built into the cabinets to minimize clutter. The 14.5-inch Omnia stainless steel pulls on the lower drawers are great for hanging kitchen towels. $40 from Simon’s Hardware & Bath; 888-274-6667 or simons-hardware.com.

Published September 2008
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