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Transitional kitchen with paneled cabinetry

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Transitional kitchen with subway tiles, black soapstone countertops and walnut cabinets by designer Talla Skogmo

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It can be limiting to describe someone's taste as traditional or contemporary. There are many shades of modern, for example.

This understated, tailored kitchen, by designer Talla Skogmo, replaces an earlier brighter, ultra-contemporary remodel. The existing kitchen included vibrant orange cabinetry and jet black countertops, with translucent fronts on the upper cabinets to lighten the appearance. The kitchen had a single, smallish island and could be separated from the living area by full-height sliding plastic doors.

Skogmo says the apartment owner was set on stripping the space, limestone floors included, and starting from scratch.

"Coming from a French Provincial-style home, she had first asked for a traditional design, as this was what she felt comfortable with," says the designer. "Instead, I suggested a refined, but contemporary kitchen, more appropriate to her new, busy city lifestyle. At the same time, I felt we should stay with the good bones of the original kitchen layout and keep the honed natural stone flooring."

The owner placed her trust in Skogmo, who created a calming two-tone design in cream and dark-stained walnut. While the look is sleek and clean-lined, the upper wall cabinets do have a simple reveal detail.


"This and the classic beveled subway tile backsplash close the gap between modern and traditional, acknowledging the original request," says Skogmo.

The new perimeter cabinets, including the integrated refrigerator, remained with-in the same footprint but the new central island is larger. A peninsula island was also introduced. This has a raised back that creates a visual buffer between the expansive living spaces and the kitchen – replacing the sliding doors.

The inner island presents a wealth of storage options on its working side and accommodates four A Rudin counter stools on the other. With the ovens set off to one side, a low-profile cooktop, and the paneled refrigerator, the kitchen's functionality is downplayed when viewed from the living spaces.

The building's solid-slab construction meant there was no in-ceiling space for services. To overcome this, the designer added a square soffit ceiling that conceals wiring and helps delineate the space. The refrigerator cabinet to the right also serves to define the kitchen and separate it from the breakfast area, says Skogmo.

"I designed a walnut display unit to stand in this space. This is matched by a fireplace surround in the same species and scale on the other side of the room. These pieces draw the large volume together."

The tall cabinet includes wine-cooling drawers and mirror-backed display niches for the owner's Lalique crystal collection.

"Venetian plaster wall finishes and the LED canoe chandelier are other touches of refinement. The owner fell in love with this balanced, modern space. It is the ideal vantage point from which to enjoy views of the city skyscrapers," Skogmo says.

First published date: 22 May 2014

Credit List

Interior and kitchen designer Talla Skogmo ASID, NCIDQ, Talla Skogmo Interior Design (Edina, MN)
Builder Hanson Building and Remodeling
Cabinet company Stevens Cabinets
Cabinetry Natural walnut, painted in Benjamin Moore Cloud White
Countertops Soapstone
Flooring Limestone
Furniture A Rudin Counter stools, A Rudin pedestal dining table and Patricia Edward dining chairs
Wallcoverings Grasscloth
Lighting Scangift Canoe chandelier
Blinds Conrad shades
Backsplash Vitra Metro bevel tile from Uson Design
Sink Franke
Faucets Dornbracht
Oven, cooktop, ventilation, microwave, dishwasher Miele
Refrigeration, wine cooler Sub-Zero