The first requirement for a well-designed kitchen almost goes without saying: that its furnishings are sturdy, wear-resistant and reliable. Yet, there is more to a kitchen, as it often becomes the heart of a home where you gather to feel the comfort of food and warmth, and to share stories and laughter. Often, one spends more time in the kitchen than in any other room of the house, and the kitchen has now received a new set of requirements in reflecting the mindset and style of its owners. Furniture that flawlessly meets these requirements and has its own glamour: simplicity and elegance.
USM furniture gives you the opportunity to take into account every sort of consideration when creating furniture for your kitchen, from the most practical to the purely aesthetic. Build unique storage and display pieces for your kitchen, with all the strength and durability to keep all of your kitchen objects safe and secure, as well as giving your kitchen a high-art, stylish feel. Then create elegant matching tables – built around the classic USM frame of chrome-plated steel tubes – that offer the same level of durability and wear-resistance.
When designing your kitchen, the first thing to decide on is the size of your project: do you want to take the chance to redesign the whole environment, or do you simply need a bit of a refresh?
For an update, some new pieces of furniture that increase the functionality of the area, finished in colors and materials that complement existing decor, might be exactly what you need. Pay careful attention to the storage needs that the new pieces could help to accommodate – open plate and bowl storage, new drawers for silverware, glass doors for your best crockery – and select a finish that will give the room a new lease of life.
For a complete redesign, make the most of the opportunity to build the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of from scratch. Pay careful attention not only to the most mundane practical matters – having enough storage, getting the measurements just right to fit the space and house to all of your appliances – but also to creating a space in which you’ll feel at home for years to come. This means thinking about the ways in which you’d use your ideal kitchen, and designing with that kind of life in mind. Ensure that there’s ample room for food preparation, as well as room to feed your family and entertain any guests that you plan on bringing into the space. A breakfast island is one way to combine the need for storage, work surface and eating area, particularly if space is at a premium.
When selecting colors and finishes, first consider the lighting of the room. If the room doesn’t get much natural light, choose pure white or other more gentle colors to brighten the space; lighter areas can easily accommodate darker colors without the area becoming somber. Choose a mix of glass and colored panels to give the room depth and a variety of textures. Otherwise, combine your favorite color combinations throughout.
It was their durability that drew interior designer Monika Norwid to USM furniture when outfitting the kitchen of her Brooklyn home. “It’s really important that USM cabinetry is built with such technological precision that it does not move,” Norwid says. “The last thing you want is things trembling or not secure. USM just feels like a tank.”
While solid and dependable, though, the USM suite Norwid designed is anything but austere. “I thought it would be fun to create a kitchen that doubled as a laboratory – an airy, glassy, experimental place where you can play with food and wine and discover new flavors”, the designer says. That’s exactly the mood achieved by the furniture – an array of storage units featuring both closed storage in the form of drawers finished in a dark anthracite grey and open display shelves finished in glass, beautifully showcasing the family’s crockery and glassware. A USM Haller table finished in contrasting bold yellow lacquered glass forms a perfect focal point for the family to come together, eat and talk. It glows like a gemstone in this jewel box of a kitchen, at once playful and elegant, joyful yet serene.
“I was fully committed to the concept of the kitchen, but I wasn’t committed to the exact dimensions of it. It can grow and shrink and be modified with the needs of the family.”
- Monika Norwid, Owner and interior designer
The USM furnishings have become such a permanent feature of the family’s home that Norwid has used them as a reference for stained-glass windows that artist John LaFarge has designed for the house. They also complement existing features of the place – designed in 1878 by architect Edward Kendall – perfectly: the glass and sleek metal offset dark-wood paneling and draw light all the way through the house to the adjacent Victorian solarium. The kitchen now forms a communal area for the building’s occupants – Norwid’s multigenerational family, including her parents, brother and sister-in-law. While the rest of the house has been split into separate apartments for these different family groups, the kitchen has become the perfect place for them all to come together. The ultimate measure of the design’s success is one simple fact: “I can’t get people out of there!”