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Look both ways

Like a large viewing box, this long, narrow living space is framed at either end by window walls made from a single sheet of glass

View of kitchen which features quartersawn red oak furniture, interior design, living room, real estate, room, gray
View of kitchen which features quartersawn red oak flooring, kitchen island and stainless steel countertops, lighting, kitchen appliances, kitchen sink and faucetry, stainless steel backsplash, cabinetry.

It is not always what you put into a space that defines it sometimes it's more about what you leave out. For the living area in his own home, architect Brad Lynch chose to reinforce the long, narrow shape of the lot with an uninterrupted floor plan that is defined by its spatial quality and light.

Measuring 63ft by 14ft 6in, the space resembles a large viewing box with the end walls each made from a single sheet of glass. Lynch says maintaining the sense of an open tube was a key element of the design. For this reason, there is just one fixed object within the space the 20ft kitchen island, which also serves as a dining table.

The main living area is further defined by the custom millwork. Reconstituted white oak cabinetry, specified for its consistent grain, runs the length of each of the three floors in the house. This volume has a key functional role it separates the circulation areas, notably the staircase, and fulfills a variety of storage needs.


Legend for plans. architecture, area, design, diagram, drawing, elevation, floor plan, line, plan, product design, structure, white
Legend for plans.

"The millwork is continuous, but punctuated with openings that allow people to move between the circulation areas and the spaces beyond," says Lynch. "On the main living level, it forms a bookcase at one end, and frames the kitchen cabinetry at the other end. On the other levels it accommodates a variety of services, including a powder room, broom closet and bedroom closets."

The kitchen cabinetry echoes the seamless look of the millwork. The material palette was kept to a minimum with stainless steel featuring on the backsplash, countertops, doors and drawers, which are flush with recessed pulls.

"Preserving the concept of the box was very important," says Lynch. "I didn't want to interrupt the sense of a through-space, so everything is very simple and plain. To have introduced additional materials would have been distracting."

View of kitchen which features quartersawn red oak architecture, countertop, house, interior design, kitchen, gray, brown
View of kitchen which features quartersawn red oak flooring, kitchen island and stainless steel countertops, lighting, kitchen appliances, kitchen sink and faucetry, stainless steel backsplash, cabinetry.

The architect says the choice of stainless steel was partly prompted by the fact that he could match the kitchen cabinets to the appliances, providing additional visual continuity.

"The large, custom-designed aluminum light fixture was specified for a similar reason. I didn't want any downlights or fixtures that would interrupt the ceiling and wall planes. This light, which is the same length as the island, and the two windows provide the necessary ambient lighting."

Functionality has not been compromised to meet aesthetic requirements. Lynch says the work triangle is designed so key items are no more than one or two steps apart.

Credit list

Kitchen manufacturer
Countertops and backsplash
Satin stainless steel by Arclinea Chicago
Doors and windows
Glass by Rochester Insulated Glass; window system by Hopes Windows
Blinds
Lutron
Faucets
KWC Supremo Classic
Cooktop
Foster
Bar stools
Bertoia by Knoll
Cabinetry
Satin stainless steel by Arclinea Chicago; surrounding custom millwork by Village Woodsmiths
Flooring
Quartersawn red oak
Lighting
Custom fixture by Gammalux
Sink
Foster Armored Series
Oven, dishwasher, coffee machine and ventilation
Gaggenau
Refrigeration
Sub-Zero

Story by: Colleen Hawkes

30 Dec, 2008

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