Mark Cunningham Creates a Chef’s Dream Kitchen

New York City isn’t exactly known for its generous kitchen space, but a professional chef’s needs go beyond the gloomy galley setups many urbanites are accustomed to at home. When one such culinary master and his husband called up designer Mark Cunningham for help with their duplex home in the West Village, he dreamed up a spin on the open-concept kitchen and living room.

You won’t find a sprawling white marble island or bare shelving here: With the space’s industrial bones, “the biggest thing was trying to bring warmth,” explains the designer, who worked with Michael Gilmore of Weddle Gilmore on the gut renovation.

First, Cunningham swathed the room in oak paneling. “It adds a sense of continuity, and when you’re sitting in the living room, you’re not staring at a refrigerator,” he says. While black granite countertops and black oak flooring keep the space grounded, he brought softness with more wood on the ceiling and a matching casing around the windows, which are flanked by plush wool curtains.

“The focal point” of the project, Cunningham says, is the stove, with its towering hood of blackened steel. A strip of white between the oak cabinetry and the coffered ceiling “brings a lightness” to the space—plus, says the designer, “I love how the hood breaks it.”

A seating area across from the island/table makes hosting a joy. “They love having everyone around,” Cunningham says, and even when it’s just the two of them, “they’re always at this table.”