An Urban Garden & Greenhouse-like Kitchen Addition
New York City is home to some of the best restaurants in the world. Nevertheless, New Yorker Gary Paul would rather make his own meals. “Eating homemade food is so much better than eating a restaurant-prepared meal,” he declares. Paul doesn’t just want to cook his own food, he wants to grow his own too, and prepare fresh meals for himself and his friends. Those
two aspects were vital components of his dream kitchen, which features a simple but functional cooking setup, ambiance-enhancing glass walls, and a surrounding garden.
Paul’s Manhattan dream kitchen has a simple layout with only lower cabinets, no uppers. “Everything you need for the kitchen is stowed away but highly accessible,” he explains. “If you have twice as many cabinets, you fill it with all sorts of stuff you just don’t use. I think it’s really important to edit.”
Just as his meals are made with simple ingredients that have tremendous flavor, his unassuming kitchen design, he says, is “layered with incredible rich and simple materials.” He used Jenn-Air Euro-Style stainless steel appliances but contrasted them with rustic surfaces: hand-made ceramic tiles for the backsplash, steel frames with a patina around the windows, and hand-scraped oak planks with a gray stain for the floor. The kitchen also flows into surrounding rooms, like the cozy living room filled with 19th- and 20th-century furniture.
The dream kitchen is surrounded by three glass walls and is meant to be an addition on the back of Paul’s brownstone building. The transparent walls make it greenhouse-like in appearance and provide a fantastic view of the lush garden outside. Having access to a garden also helps Paul stay more in tune to natural aspects of the environment. “When you live in a dense, urban environment, you miss the changing of the seasons,” he said. “I am in or [walking] through one the [New York City] parks every day. You see the budding of trees, you see when it’s dry…It’s important for me to feel that.”
Designed by Gary Paul, with Benjamin Brichta and Bryan Reitter.
Designer Gary Paul
Since opening his New York-based design firm, GP Incorporated Design Consulting, in the early 1980s, Gary Paul, MArch, has won numerous awards. His work has been featured in design publications such as Travel + Leisure, House Beautiful and the NY Times Home section. Also an educator, he currently instructs at the Parsons School of Design and teaches classes on kitchen and bath design at New York University. Paul’s design work has spanned the globe; he’s worked on projects in nearly every region of the U.S., and international destinations like the Caribbean and Ireland.
Outside of his design work, Paul volunteers for several non-profit organizations: He’s the President of the Board of the Ellen Frank Illumination Arts Foundation and is a board member of TeachersCount.
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