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Kitchen Tour: Chicago Architects' Home

Peek into the kitchen of one of the region’s most-respected design teams: husband-and-wife architects Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson. They used their Chicago-area home as a canvas for experimenting with new materials and tweaking the rules. “Our kitchen offered us a chance to try some novel things,” Elissa says.

Ornate wood pedestals support a vinyl-clad banquette in the eating nook of Elissa Morgante's kitchen. "I definitely recommend diversity of materials," she says. "It makes keeping a kitchen fresh and interesting easier."

The kitchen reflects many innovative ideas.

Wood that warms Although the kitchen displays a contemporary aesthetic, wooden elements ensure it’s cozy. The kitchen is basically embraced in wood via the floor’s recycled two-by-fours, the island’s butcher-block counter and the walnut that flows from cabinets to the table at the banquette.

Twice as nice For maximum efficiency, Elissa used two full-size sinks: one for meal prep, the other for cleanup. “Whenever possible, we encourage clients to put a large prep sink in their island,” she says. “I can rinse a whole chicken in mine or use it to fill a pasta pot with water.” Single-bowl styles are most versatile.

A light cover The fridge and many cabinets wear Lumicor, a lightweight plastic that looks like glass.  “It provides a visual screen for products behind the doors but still conveys transparency and provides nice texture,” Elissa says.

Material things Sleek, stainless-steel hardware accents white-painted cabinets to mirror appliances. Walnut banding outlines cabinets. A mix of open and closed shelving adds visual interest while providing plenty of out-of-sight storage.

Easy flow “My absolute favorite thing is the carefully orchestrated, compactly designed work triangle,” Elissa says. The perimeter wall of horizontal cabinets has doors that lift up, not out; so even doors don’t get in her way while cooking.

Line ’em up Hand-made glass tiles work with horizontal cabinetry and handles to create linear flow. “It makes the space feel more open and larger because they contrast and balance against the high ceilings,” Elissa says.

Resources

Architects Elissa Morgante and Fred Wilson, Morgante-Wilson Architects, Evanston, Illinois. morgantewilson.com

Appliances Sub-Zero and Wolf. subzero-wolf.com

Backsplash Waterworks waterworks.com

Barstools Ansel. Room and Board. roomandboard.com

Cabinetry and hardware Morgante-Wilson Architects. morgantewilson.com

Countertops Celador engineered stone; Stone Source. stonesource.com Walnut butcher block; Morgante-Wilson Architects. morgantewilson.com 

Flooring Oregon Lumber Company. oregonlumber.com

Lighting Helix round pendant; Stonegate Designs. stonegatedesigns.com Vega round suspension; Lightology. lightology.com

Paint 1515 Natural Elements. Benjamin Moore. benjaminmoore.com

Sinks and faucets Chicago Brass. chicagobrass.com

Table Custom. Morgante-Wilson Architects. morgantewilson.com

 

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