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Showhouse Kitchen with Great Use of Texture

Two New York designers create separate spaces that play beautifully side by side

Written by Amy Elbert
  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    White rift-sawn oak cabinets bleached to the shade of driftwood are a sunny nod to the nearby ocean and vacation setting of the Hampton Designer Showhouse. They also speak volumes to the fresh mix designer Robert Bakes brings to his projects. Rather than install an all-white kitchen (nearly ubiquitous in new homes in the Hamptons), the designer warmed the space with a mix of white-painted and bleached-wood finishes. “When oak is bleached and stained, it takes the heavy orange color out and translates into a softly textured surface, appropriate to the ocean setting,” Bakes says. “And rift oak with its linear grain injects texture and a slightly more modern feel. I like to mix things up.”

    Textures and colors are repeated throughout the room to create balance and symmetry—signature elements of Bakes’s design. Twin refrigerator doors equipped with chunky vintage-inspired latches and freezer drawers below flank a built-in microwave oven and a warming drawer. On the opposite wall is a bowed vent hood that Bakes designed with a bleached oak veneer and polished-nickel bands and rivets.

    Twin Sub-Zero refrigerators with freezer drawers below are concealed behind oak doors. Wine is stored in the island on pullout racks.

    Photography: John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Interior design: Robert Bakes, Bakes and Co., 3253 Noyac Road, Sag Harbor, NY 11963; 631/725-1010, and New York Design Center, Suite 430, 200 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10016; 888/206-0015,

    Cabinetry (inset custom cabinetry, Delamere Collection); tan finish on cabinetry (hand-painted, bleached and stained rift white oak); cabinetry hardware (custom, in polished nickel): Bakes & Co., White finish on cabinetry: Benjamin Moore,
    Microwave; warming drawer under microwave: Wolf,
    Ceramic pears under microwave; green bowl on counter: English Country Antiques,
    Island countertop (“White Macaubas Vein Cut Quartzite,” polished with built-up 2-inch edge): AKDO,
    Bar stools (“Constance” #ST306): Ballard Designs,
    Hanging lights over island (“Gresham Park” #5644-PN): Hudson Valley Lighting,

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Vintage-Style Latches

    Hefty polished-nickel latches on the oak-paneled refrigerator doors are reminiscent of handles on old-fashioned iceboxes.

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Suave Seating + Cool Quartzite

    While the range and hood are a visual focal point, they don’t dominate the room. “I avoid having one thing that overwhelms the rest of the design. Everything should flow and balance—there shouldn’t be one thing that jumps out and grabs your eye,” Bakes explains.

    The range is centered on the island, which is topped with a slab of quartzite with strongly linear gray-toned veining. The quartzite is repeated on the range backsplash, where the veining runs vertically.

    Cabinets painted Benjamin Moore white are combined with bleached-wood cabinets for an update on tradition. Birch “Constance” stools from Ballard Designs provide comfortable counter seating in a hub-of-the-house kitchen.

    Island sink; island faucets: Rohl,
    Range; insert on range hood: Wolf,
    Range hood (custom, bleached rift oak): Bakes & Co.,
    Backsplash behind range (“White Macaubas Vein Cut Quartzite”): AKDO,
    Perimeter countertop (“Pure White” #1141): Caesarstone,
    Large copper pot: Hammersmith,
    Cream-colored jugs beside range; canisters: English Country Antiques,
    Backsplash behind perimeter counters (“Diamond Blanco Marmara Mirror”): Alan Court Collection,
    Farmhouse sink (“Shaws Original Single Bowl Fireclay Apron Front Kitchen Sink”#RC3618); faucets (“Bridge Kitchen Faucet with Sidespray” #U4719-2, by Perrin & Rowe): Rohl,

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Mood Lighting 

    Twin polished-nickel “Gresham Park” fixtures from Hudson Valley provide task lighting and can be dimmed for intimate dining. 

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Classic White

    Bumping out the “Pure White” Caesarstone countertop on each side of the sink varies counter depth and adds visual interest to the space. 

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Linear Veining 

    White Macaubas quartzite from AKDO covers the island and range backsplash. The stone is stain-resistant like granite but looks like marble.

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Dressy Dots

    Triangular marble tiles on the countertop backsplash—arranged in a diamond pattern and punctuated with polished nickel dots—add a hint of sparkle and play well with the classic white quartz surfacing on the perimeter counters. “It’s nice to have that clean palette that brings everything together,” Bakes says. “My concept was to create a kitchen that warmly envelops and gives a feeling of comfort and safeness to those in the space,” he adds. That concept was continued in the adjoining keeping room designed by Patricia Fisher.

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Keeping Room

    “When Bob and I showed each other our palettes, we were pleased to see they were so compatible and harmonious,” Fisher says. Her serene gray-and-cream palette with chartreuse accents blended beautifully with Bakes’s kitchen scheme, and didn’t compete with the house’s fabulous garden and swimming pool views. Bakes was so taken with Fisher’s wallcovering choice—a subtle metallic-weave grass cloth—that he continued it into one area of the kitchen. In Fisher’s spaces, the wallcovering creates a pretty backdrop for the furnishings, which are more about silhouettes and textures than pattern. “There is some pattern on the rug and window treatments, but I really didn’t want to bog the design down with florals or checks. I wanted each element to pop and have breathing space,” Fisher says.

    In the sitting area, Fisher partnered mid-20th-century bent-arm chairs with 21st-century tailored settees and a sofa. A custom-made rug in shades of gray and cream that was inspired by a tribal blanket from India grounds the sitting area in comfort. A grass-cloth wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries is highlighted with metallic flecks in the weave, creating a slightly shimmering backdrop. A graphite and pencil drawing by Christine Hiebert hangs above the mantel. “Art adds a whole different element to a room—texture, color, and personality,” says Fisher. 

    Interior Design: Patricia Fisher, Patricia Fisher Design, 1111 Park Ave., Suite 11C, New York, NY 10128; 917/324-0586,

    Art over mantel (Untitled, rd.08.60, by Christine Hiebert): The Drawing Room Gallery,
    Sculpture on mantel (Blessing Hands, reproduction): Ron Seff Ltd.,
    Bookcase (custom): Patricia Fisher Design,
    Sculpture on bookcase (“Cloud 9”): Niedermaier showroom,
    Sofa (“Griffin”): Ballard Designs,
    Sofa fabric (“Luminous Linen”/Fox Fur #11168): Calvin Fabrics,
    Cashmere throw on sofa (“Rapallo”): Rani Arabella,
    Pillows on sofa (“Chiana”/Willow #F1869/17, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Lemon-and-charcoal patterned pillow (“Pix a Stix”/Chartreuse #PIX STIX.311): Kravet,
    Round table to right of sofa (“Vesey Table”): John Boone Inc.,
    Light on table (vintage): John Salibello,
    Floor lamp (“Meter with Shelf” #2203BIS): Charles Paris Lighting,, through Donghia,
    Pair of gray chairs (“Griffin Club Chairs”); coffee table (discontinued): Ballard Designs,
    Club-chair fabric (“Lea”/Ivory #29767-110): Kravet,
    Wooden-armed chairs by mantel (vintage): John Salibello,
    X table in front of wooden-armed chair (“Troy Contemporary Tabouret,” Lockwood/Boone Collection): John Boone Inc.,
    Tray on coffee table (“Shagreen Tray,” with polished nickel handle, custom sizes and colors): Lorin Marsh,
    Dice: English Country Antiques,

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Cozy Dining Area

    A window-lined bay was the natural place for a casual dining area, and Fisher chose a table with a sturdy pedestal base and rough-hewn finish that complements the driftwood cabinets in the kitchen. Vintage spool-turned dining chairs encircle the table, which is illuminated by a modernist orb chandelier. “When I first lifted the chandelier out of the box, I sort of gasped,” Fisher says. “It’s big, but it’s so open that it’s perfect there. It really creates a distinctive statement in that room.” The extra-large “Orb” from Ballard Designs fills the space above the table, but its open design doesn’t block window views or sunlight.

    Tall windows are dressed with a gray-striped Pindler & Pindler fabric Fisher turned on its side that “brings a bold element into that space." Combined with sheer cafe curtains, the window treatments cozy the nook and provide a sense of privacy without blocking views or natural light. A vacation home requires plenty of flexible seating, and a shapely ceramic stool pulled up by the table is easy to move, doubling as an end table when needed. 

    Wallcovering (“Metallic Paper Weaves”/Chromium #3531): Phillip Jeffries,
    Drapery (“Geneva”/Sterling #3964): Pindler & Pindler,
    Sheer shades on lower half of window (“Paradiso Linen Sheer”/Ivory #WX 0001 0089, by Old World Weavers); area rug (“Pecola Sisal”): Stark,
    Dining table (“Andrews Pedestal Dining Table-60 Inches” #TD340); chandelier (“Orb Extra Large Chandelier”/Aged Silver #LC723); ceramic stool (“Elise Garden Seat” #AJ183): Ballard Designs,
    Dining chairs (vintage): designer’s collection.
    Pillows on chairs (“Chiana”/Willow #F1869/17, by Designers Guild): Osborne & Little,
    Serving cart (“3-Tier Side Table” #4740-402): Lorin Marsh,
    Art over serving cart (by Josette Urso): Kathryn Markel Fine Arts,
    Light on serving cart (vintage): John Salibello,

    Placemats (“Round Bamboo Placemat”); napkins (“Loop Ribbon”); napkin rings (“Metallic Rock Arch Napkin Ring”/Silver, Crystal #NR2127511); stemware (“Platinum Pallette”): Kim Seybert,
    Bowls (“Marble Bowl”); flatware (“Fairhope”); centerpiece (“Giant Clamshell” #AA841): Ballard Designs,  

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Bar Service 

    A ruffle clamshell bowl cradles limes on a three-tiered bar cart from the Lorin Marsh showroom. The vintage metal lamp is from John Salibello. 

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Mirror Image

    The geometry of the circular chandelier in the dining area is repeated in the design of the “Orbital” mirror from the Lorin Marsh showroom. 

    Console table (“X Base Console” #XX0-CN-IN): Holly Hunt,
    Lamps on console (vintage): John Salibello,
    Mirror over console (“Orbital Mirror,” custom sizes): Lorin Marsh,
    Ceramic garden stools (for similar, “Petite Double Fortune Garden Seat” #AJ165): Ballard Designs,
    Area rug (custom): Doris Leslie Blau,

  • John Bessler and Marco Ricci

    Game Table

    Tall bookshelves and a two-tiered coffee table ensure there is plenty of space for books and games—always in demand at a vacation home. A square two-tiered coffee table provides spaces to store and play games. Painted in a gray lacquer, the table is also durable enough to serve as a footrest. “This space is for relaxing—for hanging out and dining with friends and family,” Fisher says.