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Think Outside the Box

Written by Renee Dustman
Imagery by Sandra Kicman

It’s one thing to re-design a kitchen that is in the middle of a house. It’s an entirely different matter to re-design a kitchen that is in the middle of a house that isn’t square … not anywhere.
    When the homeowners bought their historic home, they didn’t consider how its idiosyncrasies would affect future remodeling. They just loved its character and the location.
    Michael Lasell Watson, grandson of Emily Sibley Watson (founder of the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, New York), commissioned sculptor Wharton Esherick to build the home in 1967. The resulting 4,500-square-foot, modern masterpiece sits discretely on an 11-acre wooded lot in Bushnell’s Basin – a hamlet within the town of Perinton.
    Unbefitting the rest of the rooms in the Arts and Crafts Movement home, however, the kitchen was dark and outdated. “It was like a cave,” the homeowner said. The floors were slate; the wood cabinetry was an afterthought; the countertops, stainless steel; and because of its center placement, very little natural light reached in from the windows in the adjacent rooms.
    The homeowners knew they were going to need expert help to update their kitchen, so they brought in design firm Bryce & Doyle. It took some doing, but with a lot of ingenuity and even more determination, the finished kitchen is a true gem. “We’ve never seen a house like this before,” said owner Richard Doyle.


Say It With Stone
White porcelain tiles, warm to the touch, now cover the floor throughout the kitchen and attached mudroom; and white, high-gloss cabinetry blends into the white walls, concealing many of the appliances and providing ample storage. An accent wall of Calacatta Carrara Onyx marble serves as a backsplash behind the Rachiele copper sinks in the kitchen and wet bar. And the nearly nine-foot Sully 2200 Lacanche French range, in the homeowner’s favorite color, yellow, creates an element of surprise and whimsy. But then, this design is full of delicious surprises.
    The kitchen and island quartz counter-tops are conversation pieces in their own right. By day, the Caesarstone Concetto™ Puro in the kitchen and the Caesarstone Concetto™ Profondo on the island are stunning. By night, SLABlite custom-fitted panels shine through the translucent quartz tops, creating a quiet air of sophistication and romance. Adding to the ambiance, a converted pizza oven-turned-gas fireplace offers warmth and allows for cozy family dinners.


Employ Cutting Edge Technology
The stonework is definitely the highlight of the kitchen makeover.  Absent any right angles, stonecutting took on a whole new meaning for Solid Surfaces, Inc. as they worked to complete their part of the re-design.
    The company is fully fitted with the latest technology necessary to do this kind of installation. Dedicated computer software allowed Solid Surfaces to work with the homeowner to ensure a perfect fit. Touting the wonders of Slabsmith™, owner Mitch Makowski said, “The amazing thing is how we were able to digitally plan the entire design before we made a single cut.” Good thing because there isn’t room for error when working with costly, imported marble. “We had one shot,” Makowski said. And when it came time to cut the marble, high-tech computer imaging took into account the curvature of the walls within a millimeter. “That’s technology coming to the kitchen industry that I never even imagined,” Makowski said.

Let There Be Light
Perfectly engineered lighting and a “window” between the kitchen and dining room bring much needed light to the kitchen. More for form than function, an elegant Robert Abbey chandelier brightens the kitchen prep area and a multi-light pendant fixture, by ET2 Contemporary Lighting, hangs over the island. The opulent mudroom features four Maxim Lighting semi-flush mounted fixtures. And the impressive light fixture over the dining table is actually three EUROfase Cadena chandeliers, cleverly hung in unison.


Branch Out
In keeping with the organic nature of Esherick’s style, the homeowners commissioned Scott Sober of Cyma Furniture Design to handcraft the massive cherry table and small credenza in the dining room. Craftsman Bill Peck, of Blue Knight Windsor Chairs, made the cherry dining chairs and the bar stools around the kitchen island.
    The total transformation of the space is perfection, but it took some doing. “It’s a large space, but we were fighting for a fraction of an inch,” said Doyle. The homeowners couldn’t be more pleased. “Richard Doyle made it happen,” the homeowner said. 

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