Wednesday, July 28, 2010

17 Hours in the Baked Apple

Is it hot in New York or is it just my career? Last week I was treated to a trip to New York City by my friends at Jenn-Air appliances to see the "House Beautiful" 2010 Kitchen of the Year, designed by Jeff Lewis. The only thing hotter than the new line of Jenn-Air appliances featured in the kitchen may be the midday temperature in Times Square. If you read my earlier post, "A Lot of Hot Jenn-Air," you know I was recently won over by their new appliance line and the forward thinking of their design team.

It was a bit of a whirlwind trip; I was in New York City, from touchdown to takeoff, for less than 17 hours, during which I attended a private viewing in Rockefeller Plaza. I would have to say my first impression of the kitchen was that it was a bit predictable, though there were features that did stand out. It was a California Contemporary but the designer had used some interesting elements to add texture, including a three-dimensional backsplash, reclaimed wood as a counter and seating top, and a "wine wall," which was a great use of space and very visually appealing. The dark, stark European flat-faced cabinetry and white Corian countertops were something I had already seen and I wish the designer would have been a little more aggressive in his palate choices. Then again, he did get Kitchen of the Year and I didn't... note to self: I need a hit TV show!

It was, for all intents and purposes, a beautiful room. I think my issues have less to do with the aesthetics and more to do with the fact that I hoped to see ideas and execution that are way beyond what I might currently design or even be aware of. I wanted to be inspired by the creative use of materials; I wanted to be intrigued by its originality, not just in awe of its scale. (Remember the 1950s and '60s "Kitchens of the Future"? Where were the robots, conveyer belts and and hovering skillets?!)

What would you expect to see in the Kitchen of the Year?