An Island Banquette Centers This Kitchen

Published: May 27, 2024
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There’s nothing that keeps designers on their toes like having construction pros as clients, as kitchen designer Laura O’Brien of O’Brien Harris and interior designer Brynn Olsen of Brynn Olsen Design Group can attest. For this, project – which eventually included an island banquette in the kitchen – the two teamed up to serve homeowners who were in the building business.

“I think when you are a builder, you have been exposed to both good and bad end results,” said O’Brien. “Our clients were not afraid to take a chance and they knew what works and what does not. This family also has amazing style – they really understand making things the best they can be!”

Olson said, “With the builders as clients they brought an amazing perspective to the project, not just with their expertise but also an appreciation for the ideas we threw their way. They were so incredibly open, excited and fun throughout the process, which made for an incredible experience all around. We were so honored they entrusted their most personal investment with our design team to lead the charge.”

Finessing the Floor Plan

Architects Schwarz Lewis Design originally included a breakfast room in the plan, but once that space morphed into a sitting room, O’Brien had to reassess the layout to accommodate a dining area. She decided to put the breakfast “room” in the middle of the kitchen in the form of an island banquette.

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“We tried other floor plans and landed on the floating banquette,” she said. “Designing this more architectural, built-in dining space allowed us to resolve the challenge of the dining area most efficiently. The banquette created an L-shape workspace island. The function of the kitchen wraps around the banquette.”

Cabinets and Colors

For the cabinets, the clients committed to O’Brien Harris’ gray cerused oak finish, but they did not want an entirely wood look for the kitchen. A white painted finish used selectively in the room keeps the space light and bright.

Reflecting on her favorite parts of the kitchen, O’Brien said, “I am in love with how it all flows. So many things had to be considered in order to satisfy all the requirements. It looks easy, but it was a real challenge. Honestly, the stone selections here are among my favorite ever! They are just so beautiful on their own, yet don’t compete for your attention when you are in the space.”

SOURCES Design: O’Brien Harris Kitchen Design: Laura O’Brien; Architect: Schwarz Lewis Design; Interior Design: Brynn Olson Design Group; Photography: Werner Straub; Cabinets: O’Brien Harris, Kensington finish on walnut and has a polished nickel foot; Cabinet Hardware: Katonah; Cooktop, Dishwasher, Microwave, Range, Refrigerator, Wall Ovens, Wine Cooler: Thermador; Countertops: Opus White Quartzite; Faucets: Newport Brass; Flooring: White oak by Fortress Flooring; Lighting: Urban Electric; Paint: Benjamin Moore; Seating: Custom by Brynn Olson Design Group; Sinks: Galley; Tile: Ann Sacks; Vent Hood: Custom designed and fabricated by O’Brien Harris

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