KDC Q&A: Philip Durham

December 18, 2013
KDC Q&A with Philip Durham, Studio Durham Architects


This is part of an ongoing series of posts in which we’ll take an in-depth look at the story behind the winning designs in our 2010-2012 Kitchen Design Contest.

Sub-Zero and Wolf: Who drove the inspiration for this design?
Philip Durham: We did an original layout for the kitchen as part of an earlier renovation. The design was then refined and finalized in a series of meetings with the interior designer and client.

SZW: What inspired it?
PD: Both the interior designer and my firm complete a lot of kitchens every year, so we are very current on design trends. Plus both of us had already worked on several renovation projects in the house so we were familiar with both the client’s and the house’s aesthetic.

SZW: Was there an overarching theme to the design?
PD: This project was really about problem solving, getting a good kitchen with a causal eating space in a space that was really too small for it.

SZW: Why were the colors in this kitchen chosen?
PD: Paint colors/hardware etc. matched other previously renovated areas of the main level. We knew from the beginning that we wanted the oak flooring to match the rest of the main level of the house. From there, it seemed logical to go with a darker, richer wood for the cabinetry, and that left us with the idea of lighter, Vermont Danby marble for the countertop and splashes.

SZW: Was there anything you or the client wanted to include in the kitchen, but couldn’t?
PD: The client wanted to have a much larger island for more seating, but the space just physically didn’t allow it.

SZW: What’s your favorite part of the kitchen?
PD: We tried to keep the island from seeming too visually big in the space by cantilevering the seating area off the one end. This was accomplished by adding some custom steel tube reinforcements down to the basement.

SZW: What did you learn from this project that will help you most in future jobs?
PD: We have been moving away from the typical shallow upper cabinet in our designs for several years, in lieu of either custom built display shelves or nice material finishes on the wall. It makes for a much more striking kitchen.

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