Design — 01 September 2017
Kitchen design starts to show some color

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

 City & Shore Magazine

DESIGNER: Patty Kukes

PHOTOGRAPHER: Robert Brantley

Any room may have an inspiration piece the design evolves around. For a snowbird couple that spends summers in the Hamptons, it was a beautiful slab of gray and white marble for the countertops.

“It is all about the mix that keeps things interesting,” Patti Kukes says about the penthouse she designed in the Palm Beach Hampton condo. “It is all about the marble and the art.”

The clients wanted a contemporary kitchen with edginess but traditional bones. Kukes achieved the look with contemporary lighting and barstools played against painted wood paneled cabinetry.

Andy Warhol prints are hung on blue-gray silk grasscloth wallcovering, which she says is “back with a vengeance.”

“Everything is back from the ’80s, including Lucite,” she adds.

The clients wanted a table and chairs despite the small space that was left because they didn’t want to have to sit at the island. She selected an Eero Saarinen Tulip table (also back with a vengeance) with contemporary lace-back chairs.

The husband is a self described TV addict and the flat-screen television in the kitchen is one of 14 in the penthouse.

“A lot of people are afraid of using color in a permanent way,” Kukes says. “This is a way of taking a kitchen to a new level without making a big commitment.”


DESIGNER: Andy Fishman


A kitchen does not have to be big to be beautiful.

Designer Andy Fischman transformed a cramped and uninviting 13-by-7-foot condo kitchen in Lauderdale Tower into a stylish and functional space perfect for entertaining.

The couple, snowbirds from Montréal, hired him to finish the work in anticipation of moving to South Florida full time. He tore down a wall with a pass-through to create an open design that features three ways to get into the kitchen.

An essential structural column was his biggest challenge. His solution? Cladding the column in semi-precious blue quartz porcelain slabs to create a stylish focal point.

“The intent was to create something of interest that was artistic and somewhat affordable,” he says. “Porcelain is less expensive than semi-precious stone. The blue coordinated with the color scheme of the home and showcases views of the Intracoastal and the ocean.”

The other inherent challenge was to provide the large appliances the client wanted. The refrigerator is 36 by 72 inches and he had to situate the oven so the door could open fully and still preserve the large drawers for pots. A shallow high storage cabinet covered the air conditioning duct.

Fishman selected Linear Silver Glossy Acrylic for the cabinets, Snow Quartz quartzite for countertops and backsplash of 4-by-12-inch back-painted glass tile.

“These small condo kitchens are an ongoing challenge and joy,” he says. “The joy comes from coming up with sufficient storage and an open design.”


DESIGNER: Mayda Zayas-Bazan


President Reagan’s famous “tear down this wall” challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev in the ’80s might also apply these days to what designers are telling clients who live in older condos.

Mayda Zayas-Bazan says clients want the open look and an ability to enjoy the ocean or Intracoastal from the kitchen. Sometimes, that means taking a wall down.

“The clients have to be made aware that because the spaces are still small we have to make sure to use every inch,” she says. “I often add two tall cabinets to have enough room for storage. When I do a small kitchen, I like to make the counter and backsplash the same solid color. Instead of granite, which has too much movement I use quartz.”

She prefers to use Porcelanosa’s sleek lacquer cabinets and high-end appliances from Dacor and Miele. Microwaves are placed under the counter to unclutter the design.

One of the best examples of how she uses color is the pear green color splash she used in a Highland Beach condo the client turned into a rental. She added two ceiling-height pantries in pear green and repeated the color in the base of the peninsula and around the refrigerator.

“Even though it is linear, taking down the wall makes the space look bigger,” she says. We pushed the wall from the large bedroom back two feet to have a larger dining area.”

A subtler version is the award-winning condo she designed with a tall burgundy cabinet echoed in the vertical contemporary painting next to it in Boca Raton’s Sabal Shores. After removing a wall, she cladded the remaining walls in slabs of white quartz. The exit door going to the hallway was closed and cladded in quartz, too. She also added a space-saving stackable washer and dryer. (The apartment won the American Society of Interior Designers award for Best Contemporary Residential Design under 5,000 sq. feet.)

“When I am doing a kitchen with white or gray cabinets, I like to encourage my clients to add a pop of color. My clients love it. Functionality is always first but I tell them, ‘Let’s do something fun.’ And my trademark large cherry has to be in it. One bold item makes it all happen.”



Mayda Zayas-Bazan
ZB Interiors, 1254 NW 101st Way, Coral Springs,

Andy Fischman
 Allied Kitchen & Bath Design Center,
3484 NE 12th Ave., Oakland Park, 954-556-3751,

Patty Kukes
Kukes and Simons Interiors, 31 NW 13th St. # 37, Boca Raton, 561-391-7980,


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