A Hidden Modern Gem

This 5,500 square foot, three-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath home was designed to blend into a Midtown neighborhood. But the traditional façade masks an explosion of space once inside the front door.

“The homeowners were downsizing from a large, traditional home and wanted an open, livable floor plan with lots of light,” says Scott Pohlenz, AIA, owner of Pohlenz Cucine Moderne. Architect Pat Fox created the initial floor plan with conceptual elevations for developer Hal Tompkins. During the planning process, the couple sought insight from Pohlenz on the kitchen design.

“Once they started working with us on the custom kitchen, it led to us providing the design work for the rest of the interiors,” explains Pohlenz whose company offers an array of modern building and furnishings predominantly imported from Italy.

Tyson Tompkins, owner of TT Construction, built the U-shaped structure that wraps around a back courtyard featuring an outdoor fireplace and spa. Ceilings in the entry, living and dining areas are 22 feet high and provide a constant flood of light into the space. The base is recessed, creating a unique shadow detail along the floor, contrasting the clean white wall paint with the rich, deep Santos Mahogany flooring throughout. Limestone was utilized in the bathrooms.

Just inside the dark mahogany and glass entry door, Pohlenz specified a custom Edilco stainless steel and glass stairway imported from Italy that is both functional and a piece of art. To the left of the airy entry, the living room, dining room and kitchen merge as entertaining and living spaces. In the living room, the classic sofa is accented by a silk area rug from the Armani/Casa collection. A glass door in the dining room offers the option for privacy or continuous flow for entertaining.

“The kitchen is the anchor point of the entertainment zone,” says Pohlenz, pointing out the French doors that open out onto the courtyard and the lower 12-foot ceiling. “The horizontal lines of the kitchen provides an interesting transition between the very vertical space of the entry, living and dining areas,” he continues.

Pohlenz utilized Italian high-tech, eco-friendly Valcucine cabinetry. The one-centimeter-thick tempered white glass countertops are fingerprint proof, impact resistant and anti-bacterial. The doors and drawers are glossy white glass. Providing a strong contrast is the cantilevered dark oak bar that also offers a comfortable place to eat.

Designed as a gourmet kitchen, there are three integrated refrigerators, a wine cooler, built-in coffee maker, four warming drawers and three ovens, including a steam oven and speed oven. The prominent hood above the 42-inch Miele gas cooktop feels more sculptural than functional. The sink is from Blanco and the faucet is by Italian designer Armando Vacario.

Downstairs, the right side of the home is dedicated to the study, utility room and master suite. The master bedroom’s modern bed has a leather headboard, and nearby is the Sventola armchair and ottoman in charcoal and chromed metal designed by Mauro Lipparini. The mirror above the master fireplace is a Philippe Starck design for Fiam Italia. French doors provide private access to the outdoor living area and spa.

Upstairs a catwalk, featuring a metal banister from Edilco connects the two distinct wings of the house. The gameroom – a favorite location for the family’s older children – overlooks the kitchen and showcases vintage Mies van der Rohe Barcelona furnishings. On the other side are two bedrooms and private bathrooms.

Kim Fonder of Exhibit by Aberson worked with the homeowners to procure all the art and sculpture throughout the home. Since the completion of their custom home, this family has enjoyed their transition to modern life nestled in Midtown tradition.