Friday, December 02
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Kitchen Chic

What’s in and what’s out in the heart of the Hamptons house

In much of the country, trends in kitchen design are a reflection of broader cultural trends to do with the way we live now. Hamptons kitchens, however — the fancy ones, anyway — take few style cues from those in other wealthy enclaves. Case in point: an article in the New York Times reports that butlers’ pantries are now a thing. In the Hamptons, however, butlers’ pantries are old hat, having been around for as long as there have been butlers. A commentator in the Wall Street Journal declares that kitchen islands are ruining America’s kitchens. Are those monoliths really on their way out? Not east of the Shinnecock Canal they aren’t. And what of the ubiquitous white kitchen? To borrow the title of a Nancy Meyers film — where the white beach house kitchen plays a mega role — it’s complicated. 

Photo: La Cornue CornuFé. By Nathan Kirkman.

Thus, to see what’s in and what’s out, we spoke to a cross-section of industry professionals. Based on what they told us, we’ve identified the following elements and accoutrements of the well-appointed Hamptons kitchen now.

Interior designers are increasingly choosing backsplashes in stone or engineered quartz over tile for a cohesive look that’s stylish and low maintenance. “Tile can be beautiful but it’s such a pain to clean,” says Brittany Marom. “It belongs in a kitchen that doesn’t get much use. “I almost never see mosaic backsplashes anymore. All those grout lines!”

Photo: LMS Design

“A few years ago I was getting a lot of requests for kitchen islands that were painted navy blue,” says Laura Sanatore, who runs LMS Design. “Now I’m working on a few kitchen projects in which we’re using blackened wood. Sometimes we’ll choose woods in a finish that matches the floors. It adds an organic note, which is lovely. I really like black in the kitchen, as it feels grounding.”

Gone are the days in which fittings and hardware had to match. Today an unlacquered brass faucet can happily keep company with a copper sink. “We would never have seen this years ago, so it’s exciting,” says Jeannine Price of RB Designworks. The trick, she counsels, is to use no more than two different metals in the kitchen. “Be mindful when mixing polished and matte finishes. It takes a skilled eye, but done right, it looks great.” 

Photo: AGA Elise. By Nathan Kirkman.

It is here to stay. In an email, Robert Bakes of Bakes & Kropp Fine Cabinetry writes, “Whilst I would agree that some of the rich marbles of calacatta and statuary are uniquely special, quartz counter design and style has come a very long way over the last few years. The options available to us as designers now is so much more comprehensive and thoughtful than a few years ago and will, I’m sure, continue to develop. It’s a great option now for clients wanting to blend the look and the function.”

Photo: ILVE

Perhaps because many of us spend a large part of our lives online, there’s a desire to add texture to kitchens. To this end, Marom recently clad a range hood, a paneled refrigerator, and cabinets in fluted wood. The effect, she says “adds depth and makes the cupboards look less like cabinetry and more like bespoke furniture.” 

Photo: RB Designworks

In spite of what you may have heard, the white kitchen is not going anywhere — at least not in the Hamptons, our sources agree. According to Bakes, it “is here FOREVER, make no mistake. As a style it’s so much more than a trend, it’s a staple, and, with intelligent and creative design to incorporate additional finishes and elements, it will remain that way.” 

Photo: Bakes & Kropp with Kate Singer Home

“I’ve been seeing a lot of Alaska Grey, a grey stone with pockets of white,” says Marom, who used it in a recent condo project. “It shows less wear and tear than lighter-colored marbles; plus it has a ton of veining and movement so it’s visually arresting.”