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Brownstone Modern

Regional Award Winner KDC 2008-09

A prominent Philadelphia couple gets a clean, sophisticated design that still pays homage to their local history.

The kitchen of a 1800s brownstone in downtown Philadelphia was renovated only once, 20 years ago. While the kitchen was no longer in the cellar where servants cooked and provided scullery services, it was functionally impractical for a prominent couple living and entertaining in the 21st century. The owners—a husband and wife whose families have lived in Philadelphia for generations—love art and fine antiques, dinner parties, political fundraisers and large cocktail parties for up to 100 people. They cater frequently, but he is also a very passionate cook. "He really researched his appliances," says kitchen designer Joanne Hudson of Joanne Hudson Associates, Ltd. "At first he was interested in a European product but after we talked he decided that for what he wanted to do, Wolf did it better. More heat on the gas burners and larger ovens were important to him."

Aesthetically, the bold, high-contrast planes create reserved excitement, and the dark cabinetry gracefully hides abundant storage and an Integrated Sub-Zero. Near three French doors that open to the garden, an island bar with Sub-Zero undercounter wine storage and ice maker keeps refreshments at the ready. Contemporary references to the past include paneled cabinetry with a simple recess, honed marble countertops, a plaster exhaust hood in ultra-clean lines but in a historic hearth

shape, and silver saucepans that hang at the hearth in the traditional old-world style, but with a sleek pop that feels like modern art. Hudson says the design flourished because every single detail has geometric alignment and relationship to the overall composition. "Concentrating on the lines cleans up a space," she says. "It's as important for modern as it is for traditional."

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