"It's nonstop elegance," says Richard Anuszkiewicz of the kitchen he created for clients renovating their circa-1910 waterfront home in Annapolis, Maryland. The couple entertain frequently and tend to do more congregating than cooking in the kitchen, so graciousness topped their wish list.
Crafted from walnut, imbuia and anigre, the nearly 11-foot-long island was inspired by English antiques, Anuszkiewicz says. While it evokes a stately heirloom, the custom piece has kid-proof durability: "The wood is sealed with an acrylic finish, so it resists spills, scratches, stains, heat — almost anything."
Anuszkiewicz balanced the island's size and drama with a pair of Chantilly chandeliers by Vaughan. Embellished with crystal garlands and blossoms, the duo is a showstopper: "You can't do understated with this island."
For a seamless, no-grout look, the backsplash is one continuous slab of Calacatta Gold marble that runs the entire length of the wall behind the La Cornue range. It's also behind the cabinets, visible through the glass-front doors. "There's a feeling of expansiveness, as if it goes on forever," Anuszkiewicz says.
The sculptural vent hood combines three metals — patinated pewter accented with polished stainless steel and brass banding. The variations in color, shine and texture "give the kitchen more nuance," Anuszkiewicz says. "There's depth and complexity — you're not in a static white box."
When the clients asked for ladylike cabinets with soft lines, Anuszkiewicz sketched out a design for beveled, leaded-glass inserts with "lots of fluidity." It took multiple artists, numerous failed attempts, and a solid year of trial and error before the project was completed successfully. "Turns out, it's very challenging for glass to do what I wanted it to do. But the results are perfect." Also introducing curves: a half-circle Linc sconce from the Urban Electric Co.
To temper all the fancy, Anuszkiewicz chose an industrial-style faucet: Waterworks' Regulator, which is modeled on fixtures found in turn-of-the-20th-century boiler rooms. "The center valve controls the temperature, and the wheel handles turn the water on and off." At 39½ inches wide and seven inches deep, the fluted-front Rohl Shaw's Original farmhouse sink handles post-party cleanup easily. A trio of new windows was left unadorned to maximize light and views of the nearby Severn River.
Antiqued mirror panels on both the recessed refrigerator and freezer repeat the pattern of the cabinet glass inserts, as well as the beveling and leading. Aside from upping the opulence factor, the reflective surfaces produce "a jewel-like luster that bounces shimmer around," Anuszkiewicz says. The niche above the refrigerator displays ceramics and art.
Constructed of solid walnut to echo the wood on the island, the drawer interiors are "a luxe surprise, like the peekaboo red sole on a Louboutin shoe," Anuszkiewicz says. "You get only the occasional glimpse, but it's a flash of gorgeous."
In addition to storage for oversize pots and pans, and electrical outlets inside drawers, the island includes a microwave cabinet concealed behind a sliding door. Wiring was threaded up through the subfloor, then through the legs of the island, to maintain the illusion that it's freestanding furniture.
The butler's pantry sees heavy-duty use when the family calls in catering crews for big parties. But details like the antiqued-mirror backsplash, wall-mount brass faucet and marble countertops with a brass-trimmed sink keep the glamour going even here. Drawers with wire insets add texture — and ventilation for root vegetables.
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This story originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Natipernavigare.