written by:
photos by:
January 28, 2014
Originally published in Bright Interiors
as
Make it Grain
For an architect’s family getaway in Connecticut, the kitchen is no shrinking violet.
arctic white kitchen with exposed wood grain interior
To complement the white-washed custom cabinetry in her kitchen, architect Julie Salles Schaffer designed a tile backsplash to resemble “melting butter in a white pan”. Daltile arranged her two-color AutoCAD design—white and off-white—onto a mesh backing for a small fee. To soften the edges of the cabinets’ drawers and doors, Schaffer requested radial edging.
Photo by 
Originally appeared in How to Design with White
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arctic white kitchen with exposed wood grain interior family portrait
The kitchen is stocked with storage niches for cups and everyday plates. Unloading the dishwasher is a family affair for the architect, her husband, Robert, and two teenage daughters.
Photo by 
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arctic white kitchen with exposed wood grain interior storage
Cabinet fabricator Michael Madore experimented with what he calls an “aggressive” metal-sanding process to pull out the grain from the whitewashed oak plywood. For the hardware-free cabinets, Schaffer looked to a drawer pull detail derived from Giò Ponti’s work—though she admits the radial edging is an effect entirely her own.
Photo by 
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arctic white kitchen renovation interior portrait
Schaffer’s two teenage daughters tend to gather in the kitchen, particularly on the custom-made ladder fabricated by Index-d. Joking about having her immediate family as clients, the architect says, “I was faced with a much more discerning and critical audience. To lure my kids away from Instagram and Snapchat, the house had to have form and function meeting fun.” To incorporate every family member into the planning of the space, Schaffer allotted niches for dish storage (like the girls’ set of Pantone mugs) and a pull-out pantry at eye-level.
Photo by 
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arctic white kitchen renovation exterior patio
New York City-based Schaffer built the house in Guilford on a tight budget, since it’s currently her family’s second home. As an architect, she had say over where the kitchen, the heart of the abode, was situated. "I can see the pool, and when I'm cooking something, I can still see the kids.” It’s the main point of egress to the back patio and has the best view of the Long Island Sound.
Photo by 
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arctic white kitchen renovation exterior
The basic idea for the house is a simple wooden box which Schaffer "manipulated to the maximum degree,” creating "solid and void where light and views of the rocky shoreline of the Long Island Sound could be drawn inside.” Large windows are installed flush to the siding for a seamless effect.
Photo by 
6 / 6
arctic white kitchen with exposed wood grain interior
To complement the white-washed custom cabinetry in her kitchen, architect Julie Salles Schaffer designed a tile backsplash to resemble “melting butter in a white pan”. Daltile arranged her two-color AutoCAD design—white and off-white—onto a mesh backing for a small fee. To soften the edges of the cabinets’ drawers and doors, Schaffer requested radial edging.
Project 
Schaffer Residence

When New York City architect Julie Salles Schaffer started designing a house in Connecticut for her family—her husband, Robert, and their two teenage daughters—she planned it around a central hub: the kitchen. “It’s pretty unusual for the way you design a house,” Schaffer explains, “since most kitchens are tucked in the back. But I’m the one who does the cooking, and I wanted that room to be the knuckle of the layout.” Reinforcing the notion of the kitchen as a focal point is its unusual aesthetic—arctic white accented by exposed wood grain and rounded details.

arctic white kitchen with exposed wood grain interior family portrait
The kitchen is stocked with storage niches for cups and everyday plates. Unloading the dishwasher is a family affair for the architect, her husband, Robert, and two teenage daughters.
Blurring the lines between natural and artificial, Schaffer had the cabinets finished to resemble a laboratory version of driftwood, for which fabricator Michael Madore experimented with what he calls an “aggressive” metal-sanding process to pull out the grain from the whitewashed oak plywood. For the hardware-free cabinets, Schaffer looked to a drawer pull detail derived from Giò Ponti’s work—though she admits the radial edging is an effect entirely her own. “I wanted to soften the edges in elevation, not in section,” she says.

Finishes throughout the room reinforce the whiteout theme: Index-d, in nearby Bridgeport, provided the MWE ladder with a custom powder coating, and Schaffer ordered appliances from Miele and Viking to match the color scheme. The only departure: the Schaffer daughters’ favorite Pantone mugs, which reside in one of several carefully placed storage nooks throughout the user-friendly space.

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