The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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An East Hampton Kitchen

I met Sean Sullivan, author of the (insert wildly positive adjective here) food blog Spectacularly Delicious and Associate Publisher of House Beautiful, this summer at House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year press event. After maybe, a 20 minute conversation, probably less, enthusiastically talking about kitchens, including his, I asked Sean if I could go to his home and see his kitchen. I don't know if that says more about me or more about Sean, but his joy for his kitchen was contagious. Sean immediately said "yes, come!" and I did. This is a three-post story, so herewith Part I.

I knew this: I knew I would find a happy kitchen. See for yourself!

Ten years ago, the kitchen was designed by Sean and his architect. The backsplash tile, with its watery coloring, has an authentic, crafted, look and texture. It has a lovely iridescent glow, a real East Hampton beachy feel. The cabinetry, simple and modern, is a great complementary color/finish to the backsplash tile. The soft (sandy/beachy) beige counter and floor tile adds to the beachy factor! White walls add lightness for that year round summer feel, doesn't it?

Sean's kitchen is somewhat unconventional. The microwave is ... above the refrigerator (Sean and his partner, Stephen, are TALL-not an issue for them).

The wall cabinetry runs straight across the rear wall and does not change height or depth over the range. Ventilation for the range is served by a common in-wall fan at the back of the range. Upon my "kitchen designer police" close inspection of the woodwork above the range, I have to admit that there was just a very, very small amount of discoloration on the wood, which would not be noticed unless one was looking for it (like me) and, the kitchen is 10 years old! I was surprised. Sean said that next time he would have a proper ventilation system. I then nodded my head in approval, unfurrowing my brow.

Softly frosted sliding see through doors with large finger holes are, to my eye, fantastic! Note how the top of the wall cabinets line up with the top of the window...it makes sense visually-see 2nd photo at top. It's warm, homey, and useful. I'm crazy about it. 










I LOVE awning windows. they are actually one of my favorite window types. Add a spot to sit near the window and life is good!



















Sean COOKS, and Stephen, Sean's partner, is a terrific assistant chef. What a team effort! Here are Sean's tips for prep and entertaining on the big day.

Are you an assistant chef? Follow Sean's rules: Accept the task you are given, find a spot out of the main traffic area to do it, CLEAN UP AFTER, and ask "what's next?"

How Sean entertains: Don't drag out the dinner over hours! Have hors d'oeuvres ready when guests arrive and when EVERYONE has arrived, sit right down to the meal! Eliminating long anticipation of the meal or various courses allows guests to relax, dine (they're hungry!) and get to the next, satisfying, level of uber-relaxation after the meal, and that's when the real fun begins.

We have two more interesting parts to this kitchen - Sean's Batterie de Cuisine, and Details, coming soon! See Sean's Thanksgiving recipes, which he has adapted from various sources, and keep in touch with the main page of Spectacularly Delicious! If you experience a little slow loading on the site, hang in there, it's WELL worth it!


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Reader Comments (17)

You are right Susan, the kitchen has a lovely sea-sidey feeling with the iridescent tile and the translucent glass panels. I love the little seating corner by the window - I might have to reblog that one!

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClarityK

I thought you would like it! I'm not surprised! :)

November 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Wow Susan! What a gorgeous, peaceful kitchen. Looks so functional yet serene. I love the luminosity of the backsplash and the soft frosted glass cabinets. Best of all, you can tell that real people, with style and warmth, live and cook in this space. Great showcase.

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary

What a beautiful kitchen! My favorite part about the kitchen is the use of lighter colors (cabinets, appliances, counter top). It really opens up the space!

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTara

I really love the back splash! It reminds me of sea shells!! The combination of the open space and the lighting really help create a serene ambiance. Really great post, Susan! Thanks for sharing!

November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMel

Good work! Your post is an excellent example of why I keep comming back to read your excellent quality content that is forever updated. Thank you!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhappyttyy

There isn't any mention of the pot-filler at the stove. This is a crucial fixture when preparing the family recipe for clam chowder. It's a simple process, but has certain ingredients and steps that are absolutely required!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Sullivan

Well to say that I'm excited about this story is quite the understatement. Love all the positive posts too. Thanks to all!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean Sullivan

What a great response!

Mary, Tara, Mel, I'm glad the design and the colors speak to you!

Kevin, patience! There are two more posts coming on the kitchen and one of these parts is "Details". I do know that the pot filler is an important piece of the kitchen...VERY important. :)

Sean, it's a delightful kitchen to talk about and photograph, one of the most happy kitchens I've had the pleasure to be in!

November 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Ah, but no mention of the most beautiful detail of the kitchen-----Sean's beautiful smile!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkathy sullivan

Love the kitchen! To echo ClarityK, the backsplash reminds me of Abalone shells and I love the airy feel of the kitchen. I can't believe the kitchen is over 10 years old! I recall seeing some frosted door cabinets at KBIS last year - Sean definitely put together a timeless design that's held up well over the years. Thanks for the inspiration Susan!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWinston Cho

Looks like a great place to make beach plum jelly in! But what is No Barking Thursday?

November 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuzy Crancer

This is lovely timeless kitchen. The place is flooded with natural light. The wood cabinets are not too light or too dark. The backsplash is sophisticated but not obtrusive. The counters seem to have the same color as the floor. The painting pops on the white walls. But the biggest surprise to me are the amazingly modest appliances.

I'm looking forward to the next two posts!

November 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

One more thing: the absence of granite and stainless steel is refreshing! :)

November 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

Great kitchen, Sean! If we California girls (Rita, Sue and me) can't run over for your spectacularly delicious cuisine, at least we now have a spectacularly delicious vision of where it all comes from. Wow.

XOXO Tara 2

P.S. Is barking on Wednesday allowed?

November 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTara

A beautiful kitchen designed and occupied by a beautiful man, inside and out!!!
Susan, you are a smart woman!
Sean is a class act and a true talent!

November 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenni Pulos

I also love the back splash which is serene and cool just like the cook....everything Sean does is done with class and style. The kitchen is not only workable but sooo neat........... Camille

December 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercamille romita

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