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THE 2008 HC&G IDEA HOUSE

July 1, 2008

That's Entertainment
By Samuel T. Clover

A SLEEK GOURMET KITCHEN AND TWO DINING AREAS MAKE THE HC&G IDEA HOUSE PARTY CENTRAL

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When it comes to entertaining in the Hamptons, it's key to have a home that lends itself to both intimate family dinners and the occasional blowout for 100 guests. In devising the new modern wing of the 2008 HC&G Idea House, developer Peter Sabbath of ModernGreenHome and project architect Seth Howe have created a space equally appropriate for a child's birthday party or a visit from European royalty. The expansive first floor combines a mudroom and casual powder room near the driveway and, in the front, the kitchen and family room are separated by a seven-foot-diameter spiral staircase—and are enclosed by floor-to-ceiling glass doors that can be opened so the party spills outside. The open plan complements a more intimate formal dining room located in the original 150-year-old farmhouse.

The nerve center of any party, of course, is the kitchen—and in this case it's an ultra-modern space outfitted with sleek Boffi cabinets and energy-efficient Gaggenau appliances. Gaggenau's Vanessa Trost, who helped plan the kitchen with Sabbath, Idea House design director Kyle Timothy Blood and Boffi's Antonio Marinoni, admitted a certain amount of showmanship goes with the practical layout. "Going out to dinner is the theater of the 21st century," Trost says. "People are almost more into eating than going to shows, and they want to produce that kind of feeling at home. In order to have food the way the professionals serve you at restaurants, you need the appropriate tools."

One of those tools is a 48-inch, five-burner gas cooktop with a total rating of 60,000 BTUs—enough power for a small restaurant. It's mounted into a 13-foot-long island that divides the galley kitchen and the informal dining area. The room's open feeling is preserved thanks to a fixed under-counter ventilation system by Gaggenau that eliminates the need for a hanging hood, which would otherwise obscure sightlines. The countertops are made from IceStone, a VOC-free surface material made from recycled glass and concrete. Lining the entire wall behind the island is a series of seven-foot-tall wood-paneled cabinets with recessed pulls in a matte finish. Four of the units serve as pantries, while four others hide a pair of 24-inch Gaggenau refrigerators, a 24-inch freezer and a wine cooler with a 75 plus bottle capacity. On the same wall, two 30-inch ovens offer flexibility to cook anything from strip steaks to souffles—a combo steam/convection oven and a convection-only oven with a LCD control panel right on the glass. There are also two dishwashers: one in the island and another in a cleaning/prep area along another wall that also boasts Boffi cabinets. The kitchen flooring is radiant-heated concrete. "This is the first Idea House that has a trendy, thoroughly modern kitchen," Blood says. "We want to show that a contemporary kitchen can be just as functional—and beautiful—as a traditional one."

In contrast to the spare kitchen, for the adjacent informal dining area designer Ellen Hanson is using repurposed materials and found objects not only to go green but also to create "a feeling of casual ease," she says. She was inspired, in part, by the cedar shingles from the original farmhouse, which have been retained on the wall separating the new wing from the old. "When you see the texture of the old house peeking into this techy, almost super-clean space, it softens it in a way that's really appealing." Hanson is building a nine-and-a-half-foot table from leftover planks found on the site and ringing it with reconditioned Windsor chairs and a bench. An energy-efficient LED fixture designed by a young Pratt student will hang above.

For the formal dining room, complete with a fireplace, Jamie Drake is creating "a fabulous Hamptons-style entertaining room" with a garden theme, including wallcoverings and Roman shades in an updated tree-of-life pattern. His "Eden-like" color palette—in fabrics from his collection for Schumacher—consists of greens ranging from "fresh lime to verdant grass." The whole is lit by a ring of sconces, a chandelier and candles. It's just the thing for a summer garden party—indoors.


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