Kitchen & Bath Design News

FEB 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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DEFINING ARTISANSHIP But what, exactly, is meant by artisanship? Nobody could define it better than Grace Jeffers, designer, historian and member of the National Kitchen & Bath Association's team of Insiders. "In artisanship, one sees the hand of whoever made an item," she explains. "And artisanship usually tells a story that is personal and moving. It's 'art thinking' as opposed to 'design thinking,' and 'art thinking' is about emotion and atmosphere. "One of my favorite examples of artisanship is a kitchen I saw in a bungalow in Berkeley, CA," she continues. "On the property was an old black walnut tree that had become very sick. The owner had the tree cut down and hired a local cabinetmaker to make all the cabinets and countertops for the bungalow's new kitchen from it. That tree never left the property and is still enjoyed daily by the family." Jeffers feels that people should touch at least one hand- made thing a day, be it an artist-made coffee cup or an entire interior. "Otherwise, I fear that we will lose touch with our humanity," she says. ARTISTRY AT WORK Designing a thoroughly unique kitchen is a gigantic challenge, but Dan McFadden of PB Kitchen Design in Geneva, IL con- tends that this is also what makes it so exciting. He tells of one of PB's particularly interesting projects, a kitchen designed in close collaboration with its owner, an accomplished artist. "Her stamp is all over this kitchen," explains McFadden. "The home is in a rural part of Illinois, but it's international in scope. The La Cornue range, which presides over this kitchen, was customized in many ways, so it became as unique as its owner. But, in this space, it is only the start of eye-catching, special features. They include hand-made, dimensional tile behind the stove and the range hood covered by metal panels, but wrought iron plays a major role here, too. "As it turned out, the owner had a friend who owned a found- ry, and he hand-forged the nature-inspired hardware on the doors of the refrigerator and some of the cabinets, the chandelier and the table that's part of the island. The table is special. Part of the communion dress worn by the owner's daughter was em- bedded in that table top, creating a relief pattern and every day reminding the family of such a happy, memorable occasion." McFadden notes that the PB design staff treasures its relationships with local craftspeople. "The terrific thing is that, when we bring them a design, they often find a way to make it even better than we had envisioned because, of course, they understand their particular medium better than we do." In a recent project, PB had to shift focus from its Illinois roots. A client was building a vacation log cabin in Colorado and wouldn't hear of anybody else but PB designing the kitch- en. They honored the log cabin tradition with rustic custom cabinetry and flooring, all within a powerful framework of massive, locally felled and hand-hewn pine logs and ceiling beams. They then added some metal cabinets for an industrial jolt. The result is a kitchen that honors Western traditions, but also provides convenience and conviviality for a family of enthusiastic skiers. Designed for an artist by PB Kitchen Design, this kitchen features a host of unique elements, including handmade dimensional tile and a hand-forged iron chandelier, table and hardware. The hand-forged iron table with a relief pattern is very special to the client, as the pattern was formed by embedding her daughter's communion dress in the table top. The nature-inspired twiggy hardware on the Sub-Zero refrigerator adds another artisinal touch, while the customized La Cornue range provides an eye-catching focal point. Photos: Bruce Van Inwegen February 2019 • 55 STYLE ALERT

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