Luxe Life: Couture Hamptons Kitchens


Countertops flow to the floor for a pop of drama.  (Courtesy Photo:  Cancos)


The centerpiece of any home is the kitchen, and in the Hamptons, where mansions line the lanes to the beach in every direction and enjoying food and drink is as much a part of the lifestyle as the sun and surf, one would only expect that every kitchen, indoors or outdoors, would be the stuff of dreams. From layout and design to the finest of materials and professional equipment, one need only add the personal chef to complete the picture.

“The kitchen becomes the nucleus of the home,” says Gary Ciuffo, owner of Ciuffo Cabinetry. “It’s the place where the whole family and close friends will gravitate to, they will stay to make new memories, continue or make new traditions, and simply love and enjoy to be there.”

Stainless elements are still on trend. (Courtesy Photo:  Blackman)
THE ULTIMATE KITCHEN

“The ultimate kitchen is different for every person or family,” says Ciuffo. “A great kitchen must be practical and functional while looking great at the same time. It needs to have the right selections of colors, finish, textures and materials. From paint colors to organic-natural and stained woods, metals and glass, the list goes on. This kitchen needs to be current yet timeless. Creating a great kitchen is never simply settling for what is easy, quick or easily available.”

Bernadette White of Cancos says that when it comes to kitchens, “Everyone wants elegant comfort and beauty in white. White 3–5cm Calactta slab kitchen countertops are still number one.” For something sexier, White says designers and architects are looking for counters with “waterfall edges where the countertop falls to the floor from the counter height.”

The ultimate outdoor kitchen is fully loaded with “built-in refrigerators, built-in wine coolers, custom cabinetry, center islands, seating areas, and outdoor sinks,” says David Lyon, VP of Retail at Blackman Plumbing which launched Blackman Outdoor just over 3 years ago to focus on outdoor lifestyles. “We introduced a Dekton, a [non-porous] solid surface slab product that’s used just like a stone counter and it is UV protected. We can bookmatch patterns and also use the product for exterior cladding to create some spectacular visuals.”

KITCHEN TRENDS

Ask any tile expert and they will agree with White when it comes to flooring trends. “Wood-look porcelain floors are becoming very popular. It makes sense for Southampton—there are a lot beach front homes with a lot sand. That can really eat up a natural wood floor, and porcelain really takes a beating. All summer long the floors will look great, no scratches, really low maintenance.”

“Today we have many choices of endless possibilities,” explains Ciuffo, considering trends. “We have natural stones, man-made stones, glass, plastics, metals, and natural woods. It is not always the simple answer of which surface is better than the other, it’s what is better for the lifestyle or request of the owner in addition to what is best for that particular kitchen design.”

A big trend in the market has been to move the kitchen outside. Going above and beyond the ever popular charcoal grill of old these new outdoor entertaining areas include a full kitchen and bar. “When we look at the kitchen industry we are finding that the outdoor kitchen is almost important to our customers than the indoor kitchen,” says Lyon. “The outdoor kitchen has become completely designed and is a full kitchen.”

White is a trend right now when it comes to colors. (Courtesy Photo:  Blackman)
A big trend in the outdoor kitchen explains Lyon, “Beyond grills we find out outdoor wood-fired pizza oven to be the most popular request. People use it for more than just pizza. They are cooking chickens, steaks, fish, veggies, everything. Smokers are another popular element people are loving right now.” Maintenance is always a concern yet Lyon says that in the Blackman Outdoor Courtyard all they do is empty the water lines in the winter and then hose off the kitchen in the spring to get it.

THE CHEF’S KITCHEN

Beyond a stove, sink and fridge, a professional kitchen has more than a few unexpected elements. Ciuffo tells us that the idea of a chef’s kitchen comes from a homeowner who is passionate about cooking. “They want a commercial appliance, or as close as they can get to a commercial appliance, which involves a lot of stainless steel. This kitchen will have a serious gas range and an electric wall oven. Today’s modern chef’s kitchen may have a steam oven. This kitchen will also have well-planned prep spaces with accessible sinks, typically a smaller prep sink along with a larger multi-use sink, double dishwashers and adequate refrigeration.”

“Double everything,” agrees White. From “5 centimeter marble counters, two to four sinks, double islands, and of course whatever is inside needs to be outside…built-in everything, including the coffee makers”
Work flow and good design, Ciuffo says, are key factors. “This kitchen will have everything in the correct place, from where the appliances are installed to how the inside of the drawers and cabinets are outfitted. There will be well planned divided drawers for cooking utensils, serving utensils, specialty knives, dividers for cooking trays, serving trays, and rollouts for bowls, pots, and pans right down to where the spices and oils are stored. A chef’s kitchen will be designed to cater to the needs and level that the owner desires.”

ALL IN THE DETAILS

Materials matter when designing the ultimate kitchens in the Hamptons. “The days of a picking up the house phone and ordering a simple stove, fridge or dishwasher is long gone,” says Ciuffo. A truly remarkable kitchen is a complex marriage of appliances and forward-thinking design. “It can be simple and stated. It can be glamorous and presentable, yet completely functional and able to handle serious cooking. This type of kitchen will most likely have natural stone, sometimes wood, and/or stainless steel tops. This kitchen is a lot more specific—the level to which it will get designed and built will come from very specific meetings with the owner, the chef.”

“Everything you can imagine indoors is now outdoors,” says Lyon. Outdoor kitchens have a unique set of considerations, first and foremost they must be built to weather the elements which can mean blazing sun, salt air, and blizzards depending on the time of year. Lyon states, “Our cabinetry is meant to weather the elements. We design sleek stainless steel cabinets and brought in the Brown Jordan Outdoor Kitchen line which is very classical with recessed panel designs and enamel finishes over stainless that look like wood. The paints and finishes are all UV protected so there’s no fading.”

Motion sensors and switches control LED cabinet lighting, bars for breakfast and entertaining, remote drop-down TVs, electronic touch drawers, and remote touch electronic open doors are a few of the details that Ciuffo has put in Hamptons kitchens recently. For hardware, he says, “We call it the ‘jewelry.’ This can be simple and discrete or it can be glamorous.”

Lyon sums it up, and our experts concur, that no matter how you slice it, the ultimate Hamptons kitchens are “just getting bigger and better.”

Mixed materials enhance the design. (Courtesy Photo:  Blackman)