Natural Kitchen Becomes Hearth of the Home

by WOHe

Natural Kitchen Becomes Hearth of the Home

By John Filippelli

WYCKOFF, NJ While kitchens are often referred to as the heart of
the home, the design team on this project made the kitchen the
“hearth” of the home. The inspiration for the space itself was a
fireplace the clients had seen in a castle in Spain, and the
materials and designs used fit intricately with that element.

The use of natural materials to create a warm and inviting
kitchen was the goal of the design team of Robert Lidsky of
Wyckoff, NJ-based The Hammer & Nail, Inc.; Diane Boyer, ASID,
of Verona, NJ based Diane Boyer Interiors, Div. of Bill Behrle
Associates; architect Jeff Beer of Warren, NJ-based Beer &
Coleman Architects, and construction manager Ken Beer of Pluckemin,
NJ-based States Management Corp. Limestone, hand-carved Mexican
stone, wrought-iron and distressed cherry cabinetry all added their
own distinctive influences to the design.

Appliance style

The hearth, which features a stainless steel 48″ DCS range, is the
main focal point of the room. While most of today’s hearths are
made out of synthetic materials, this hearth is constructed of
hand-carved stone from Mexico. Because a stone fireplace needs to
have solid support, it rests on a foundation in the basement.

Also unusual in the construction of the hearth is the
floor-to-ceiling design, notes Lidsky. “Usually, the hearth rests
on the counter above cabinets, so it looks top heavy,” he

Working with the floor-to-ceiling style, the design team created
a sizeable space that would encompass the range comfortably while
allotting for counter space. The space allows for the range, plus
12″ of counter area on each side of the unit.

“If you just placed the range by itself in an enclosure that
went down to the floor, you would have no counter left or right,”
he explains. “This is a 93″-wide enclosure, which provides ample
counter space.”

The valance of the range hood picks up the iron scroll motif
that is featured on the gates that lead from the kitchen to the

Most of the other appliances are also stainless steel, acting as
reflectors of the surroundings. The Elan wall oven, located in the
corner of the layout, gets the bulk of the cabinets out of the way
and allows the range hearth to remain the focal point.

“We didn’t want the appliances to dominate,” explains Lidsky.
“We wanted the range structure and the other focal points to make
the statement.”

Another focal point in the room the Sub-Zero 700 Series TR/TF
refrigerator and freezer is located directly across from the
hearth. Centered underneath two heavy ceiling beams, the units are
hidden behind cobbled cherry panel doors with a washed, sponged
finish darkened with glaze, designed to mimic the heavy, framed
entry doors that are popular in medieval castles in southern
Europe. Small, recessed panels are featured on the doors, as are
rusted iron clavos hand-forged steel medallions at the
intersections of the small panels to enhance the worn, distressed
look. All of the hardware on the refrigerator is a rusted iron
look. The Old-World illusion of the space is heightened by setting
these units into a plastered arch.

“It appears that a person could open these doors and walk
through them into another space, but, in fact, they disguise the
refrigerator,” reports Lidsky. “Only the drawer handles and the
division between the panels give any clue as to where the door

The area in front of the refrigerator and freezer provides ample
room for passage, even when the door is open. “This is a sensible
visual versus functional compromise,” Lidsky adds.

Cabinetry collection
Because the design space occupies a portion of a larger area that
encompasses the family, breakfast, conservatory and china storage
rooms, the design team was cognizant that the kitchen blend with
other rooms in the house.

Therefore, the cabinetry serves as both an aesthetic enhancement
to the overall design and as functional storage space. “The
cabinets are a part of the overall room design concept, not just a
cabinet statement,” Lidsky says.

The design team integrated solid cherry custom cabinetry, which
adds a cohesive flow to the Medieval-style space. Much of the
cabinetry was painted a rich, deep yellow, which was then partially
hand-sanded to simulate wear. It was then finished with a
low-luster, dark brown glaze, making it a strong complement to the
natural materials throughout, Lidsky notes.

In contrast, the cherry on the island has been cobbled to a
rustic, Medieval look and then darkened with glaze, similar to the
finish that is found on the refrigerator/ freezer doors. Designed
to be another focal point in the room, the island features a
soapstone countertop, as well as a Whitehaus stainless steel

Functionally, the niche portion of the island separates the
kitchen from the breakfast area and family room while creating a
seating area for guests to converse with the cook. “It is a social
kitchen,” Lidsky asserts.

The island also serves as a bar sink area, taking advantage of
the view of a lake and golf course.

The glazed cabinets flank both the range and the refrigerator,
and line the walls around the room. Topping them off are limestone
countertops that reflect the same earthy yellow color.
Very old tiles in a similar yellow hue are featured, as are walls
and ceilings that are sponged stucco. Cobble oak beams on the
ceiling, found at local antique barns, blend seamlessly with the
Mediterranean tile and Enkeboll corbels and pick up the color used
on the island and refrigerator/freezer doors.

The ironwork throughout the room, which complements the
Mediterranean design theme, was hand crafted in Portugal. The light
fixtures and cabinet pulls feature an all-rusted iron

project highlights

  • This kitchen, designed by Robert Lidsky of Wyckoff, NJ-based
    The Hammer & Nail, Inc., Diane Boyer, ASID, of Verona, NJ-based
    Diane Boyer Interiors, Div. of Bill Behrle Associates, architect
    Jeff Beer of Warren, NJ-based Beer & Coleman Architects and
    construction manager Ken Beer of Pluckemin, NJ-based States
    Management Corp., features a variety of natural materials to create
    a warm, earthy and inviting space.
  • A focal point is the hand-carved Mexican stone hearth, which
    was inspired by a fireplace that the homeowners had seen in a
    castle in Spain. The hearth houses a 48″ DCS range and features an
    unusual floor-to-ceiling design to accommodate the structure’s
    large size while offering counter space.
  • The Sub-Zero 700 Series TR/TF was disguised by the design team
    with cobbled cherry panels and rusted iron clavos for a worn,
    distressed look. Designed to emulate the heavy entry doors in
    European Medieval structures, the units were set into a plastered
    arch to further enhance the illusion.
  • Limestone countertops were chosen to offer the same earthy,
    yellow color that is picked up in the tile and glazed cabinetry,
    while the dark, distressed finish on the island complements the
    antique, dark-colored beams on the ceiling.
  • Cherry custom cabinetry adds to the earthy feel of the
    Medieval-style kitchen, according to Lidsky. The cherry cabinetry
    was hand-sanded to create a distressed, worn look, and offers a
    cohesive and natural flow to the space.
  • Kitchen Products include: Sub-Zero 700 Series TR/TF units; Elan
    wall oven; DCS 48″ range; custom cherry cabinetry; limestone and


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