KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Nov 09 2016

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Redesigning a Log Cabin

Thought designing your last kitchen was difficult? Try designing in the Adirondacks Mountains without electricity. KBB magazine spoke with designer Arthur Zobel of Glens Falls, N.Y.-based Zobel and Co. to find out how he did it.

KBB: What were the problems with the previous design?
AZ: The kitchen was built with affordable cabinetry when the home was built that, understandably, wasn’t meant to last forever. Like many first kitchens, the homeowner didn’t know how the kitchen was going to be used, so cabinets and drawers weren’t ultimately in the right places. The kitchen also lacked continuous countertops. Next to the stove was a freestanding hutch that had its access cut off by a freestanding butcher block island that didn’t provide much counter space.

What challenges did you encounter and how did you solve them?
AZ: Working around the large gas stove was a challenge because it couldn’t be moved. We adjusted the design of the cabinets to accommodate it. The refrigerators also couldn’t be moved far due to the location of the gas lines that fueled them. We were able to pivot the refrigerators.


KBB: Talk about the lack of electricity and how that affected the design and the building process.
AZ: Actually the lack of electricity didn’t really have an impact. This homeowner is very accustomed to living with gas appliances and this designer is too! We didn’t move the stove, and the refrigerators were only moved slightly so there wasn’t an issue with the new gas plumbing. The installation process was helped by a generator for the power tools needed to complete the job.


KBB: What did you use for the cabinetry and the countertops?
AZ: This is where the fun part of the project began. Having worked with Country Roads cabinetry (Holmes, N.Y.), I knew that we could achieve an authentically rustic yet unique look. Because there is so much wood in this house, the homeowner wanted to differentiate the kitchen but not move into a painted or laminate cabinet. We worked for several months honing just the right tone of green for the reclaimed barnwood cabinets we decided to use.

There’s a very subtle red hue in the cabinets that picks up and complements the red double-sided pantry the homeowner loved. The red pantry helps create visual interest, so we didn’t even move it from its original position.

The homeowners selected a bright granite top that had lines of brown and green. We added a wood top to the peninsula work area because this is where they tend to prepare food.


KBB: Talk about your design for the bar area.
AZ: The homeowners had a magnificent huge burl from their property they had slabbed and pieced together to create the fabulous live-edge bar top. Truly a one-of-a-kind countertop!


KBB: What was your favorite part of this design?
AZ: The cabinets. The homeowners had a great sense of design and color, which helped because they could “see” how the green would translate in their kitchen. As I mentioned, we worked for months to get just the right green.

This family loves to cook. No electricity means time to spend together cooking, talking and laughing. From gourmet meals to pastries to savory bites, they have a passion for good food, and as such they have a lots of cooking equipment, spices and oils. I was pleased we could bring organization to their kitchen with some great Häfele hardware products, such as kidney-shaped pull-out corner shelves, verticle storage rack and multi-faceted, stove-side cupboard (above).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hardware. The cabinet hardware is repurposed railroad spikes. This home is near an abandoned private railway, and repurposing the spikes not only puts them back in service but gives a nod to the local history.



This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 at 8:28 PM and is filed under Creativity, Inspiration, Kitchen Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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