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The Perfect Fit

Beneath its simply elegant surface, a kitchen’s imperceptible details provide functionality and comfort for a young and active family

 Builder Arnold Karp has completed dream projects in as many sizes and shapes as he has custom clients.  

“We’ve made kitchens for homeowners who prepare three meals a day, every day, and kitchens for people who just make coffee in the morning,” notes Karp. “In every initial conversation we have with clients to plan a design, the most important question to determine a project’s success has to be, ‘How are you going to use this space?’”

For a young Darien family, the wife’s grasp of the kitchen’s central role in her household’s daily life was the linchpin for the room that evolved. She wanted a spacious floor plan, not only for the couple and their three small children, but also for the many gatherings, formal and informal, that end up with everyone in the kitchen.

By locating major storage spaces—walk-in and butler’s pantries, and what Karp calls “Mom’s Command Center” for laptop, school and household paperwork—outside the main traffic areas, the project architect drafted the kitchen plan so that children, their friends, and an open house-sized party of guests could find a seat at the home’s nexus.

Following her own dictum for a space that would be simple, clean-lined and bright, the wife not only itemized her wish list, but spent hours searching for just the right materials to realize the plan.

“I went to tons of open houses to get ideas,” she recalls. “I visited kitchen showrooms to see and touch their products. I wanted the cabinets to feel substantial, but without a lot of beading and details. I went to warehouses looking at slab after slab of stone. I wanted something that I would still love ten years from now.”

But beyond the amenities that any observer will notice are the underlying details that make the space a truly custom solution. Backless stools that tuck under the center island give children a space to sit and spread out books and papers. Another detail to enhance the kitchen’s child-friendliness is the placement of refrigerator drawers in the island.

“Not all my children are big enough to reach the refrigerator shelves without a stool, so the drawers give them independence to get their own drinks and snacks with ease,” says the homeowner.

While a large window over the sink offers a mom’s-eye view of the backyard (thoughtfully bumped out to allow for an extra wide space behind the faucet deck to contain small items that might clutter the counter), another opening allows for observation of the basketball court at the driveway. For a busy mother, these dual angles become an invaluable convenience. Finally, for chilly days, the radiant heating that invisibly warms the space from below the oak hardwood floors provides the final touch to a kitchen that is the home’s true heart.

To Arnold Karp, this well-tailored end product and its satisfied users are the essence of his work.

“As a client, if you’re going to build a custom project, then you should put your fingerprints on it.”                                       


Builder: Karp Associates, 203-972-3366, Beneath its simply elegant surface, a kitchen’s imperceptible details provide functionality and comfort for a young and active family
Architect: Sabrina Foulke, Point One Architects, 860-434-7707, pointonearchitects.com