Interior designer Denyse Rinfret prefers to create kitchens where people will linger
The lure of a kitchen is undeniable. No matter the occasion or time of day--from tempting aromas of coffee in the morning to fresh-baked bruschetta before a dinner party--it's the room that seems to have a magnetic pull. And while attracting people may be no problem, interior designer Denyse Rinfret prefers to create kitchens where people will linger. That motivation drove her interior design for the Hampton Designer Showhouse in Bridgehampton, New York. "I wanted a kitchen where people would gather and stay, not just a place to grab a bite and leave," says the Manhasset, New York, designer. "I like the kitchen to be a communal room where people sit with family and friends to eat, converse, read, or just relax."
Photography: Bruce Buck
Produced by: Bonnie Maharam
Interior design: Denyse Rinfret, Rinfret Interiors LLC, 99 Bourndale Rd. N., Manhasset, NY 11030; 516/365-7234, rinfretinteriors.com.
Builder; kitchen design: George Gavalas, Gavalas Builders, P.O. Box 1821, 9 West Pond Drive, Bridgehampton, NY 11932; 631/537-8955, gavalasbuilders.com.
Bridgehampton builder George Gavalas laid the groundwork, constructing a new house with a spacious rectangular kitchen rich in architectural details. His white wood cabinets with recessed panel doors are accented by pilasters, carved corbels, a plate rack, and a glass-fronted china cabinet. Carrara marble perimeter countertops and a marble mosaic backsplash are sophisticated, while bin-style pulls and a beadboard ceiling keep the mood informal. The white cabinets and marble are warmed by the toast-colored Australian cypress floor and a dark mahogany countertop on the large center island.
Gavalas designed the kitchen so traffic flows easily around the island, and a dining area at one end of the room makes it ideal for entertaining. Two sinks and ample work surfaces accommodate multiple cooks and others who just like to hang out.
Giving the island focal-point status are a pair of 17th-century antique English lanterns. Not just pretty faces, the lanterns were electrified and provide task and mood lighting. In addition, recessed ceiling fixtures can be dialed up or down. "I always use versatile lighting in a kitchen. That way you can change the mood from industrial lighting for cooking to romantic light in the evening," Denyse says.
To create an inviting eating area, Denyse brought in a large wood table--inspired by an English antique--that can extend to seat 12 people. The table also works as a serving area for buffets or as a place for children to do homework, she says.
Comfort was the mantra for seating, with a pair of upholstered wing chairs bookending the table. "The armchairs give the kitchen more of a family-room feeling," Denyse says. A Swedish country settee backing up to a large window is softened with colorful blue and pink pillows ("colors the vibrant skies of the Hamptons are known for"). Antique wicker chairs across from the bench are casually slipcovered in a cozy plaid fabric.
A reproduction of an antique chandelier hangs above the table, and a striped cotton area rug provides warmth and softness underfoot while helping to define the dining area.
White linen curtain panels edged with a band of blue-and-white plaid soften the window behind the dining bench. The designer hung the panels with clip-on rings that fit over decorative nail heads made for hanging pictures.
A decorative plate rack, pilasters flanking the farmhouse sink, brushed nickel fixtures, and marble tops and mosaic backsplash give the new kitchen vintage character.
Seeded glass is accented by diamond-shaped moldings in a furniture-style china hutch.
Interior designer Denyse Rinfret. "People want a nucleus in their homes," she. "Most people gravitate to the kitchen. It should be inviting--functional and a beautiful, friendly place."