You'd Never Guess a Kitchen This Elegant Is Durable, Too

Designer Anelle Gandelman created a space that looks good but works harder.

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Brittany Ambridge

A glance at this warm, airy, elegant kitchen by Anelle Gandelman of A-List Interiors brings a lot of positive descriptors to mind, but the one Gandelman uses to describe it may be the least expected. "It's a workhorse," says the designer. You see, though the kitchen—part of a major renovation on a family home in Scarsdale, New York—may be photo-ready with its oak cabinets and brass accents, it was designed for heavy use.

"The clients were a young family with twin girls, and they had just moved out of the city into this house," the designer explains. "So they were having a lot of guests on the weekends, hosting playdates for the girls." Plus, the couple is very into cooking and healthy eating. So, Gandelman set out to create a space that would stand up to heavy meal prep and guests coming and going.

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A stained oak on the center island is more durable than the White Dove painted cabinets around the kitchen’s perimeter.
Brittany Ambridge

The first decision? Forgoing traditional marble countertops for a more durable alternative: quartz. "We wanted to balance the beauty of natural stone with what's actually going to work in a busy kitchen." To do so, Gandelman decided to install natural Calacatta Gold marble on the backsplash ("It's not getting the same kind of wear," she explains) and then select a quartz that would complement it.

She settled on one from Aria, with soft veining that didn't compete with the backsplash but still looked like it could be natural. "When you're standing there, you could think it's marble," Gandelman says. "It's got this lovely, quite soft veining."

To further complement the warm tones within the Calacatta marble, Gandelman decided to take a break from the Benjamin Moore White Dove color on most of the kitchen's cabinets for the island, instead selecting a stained oak that—you guessed it—is ultra-durable.

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Gandelman concealed the hood and added brass accents that echo the hardware.
Brittany Ambridge

"For the island, we knew people would be pulling up chairs and prepping there a lot, so there would be marks and just general wear and tear," she explains. "With the stained oak, there's already this wood grain, so the marks don't show up as much—they just look like part of the grain."

Another important durability decision came in the form of the kitchen hardware, which is a solid bronze design by Armac Martin. "Sometimes the hardware gets overlooked in a kitchen because people are going to invest their money in the cabinets, and it's kind of an afterthought," Gandelman says. "But when you're opening up heavy doors and there's constant usage, there are little parts that are going to come loose." The solid bronze hardware will stay put—plus, its live finish means it will develop a unique patina over time. Now that's practical and beautiful.

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