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 panelling 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!”
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