Best New Kitchen
Inspired by a sweeping view of the Allegheny River, Cyd Stackhouse and Bob Bergren incorporated water into every design choice of their modern, ethereal kitchen.
photos by robert bergren
Designer Lauren Levant knew that to give one Morningside home the kitchen it deserved, she’d have to bring inside its best feature — a sweeping view of the Allegheny River.
“This kitchen actually became one of the most conceptual kitchens I’ve done in recent years professionally,” says Levant, who owns Lauren Levant Interior in Shadyside. “The symbolism is all about the riverscape. The panoramic view is exactly what you want to be noticing when you walk in.”
The innovative incorporation of the theme earned the space this year’s Best New Kitchen title.
The home where Cyd Stackhouse and Bob Bergren have lived for the last year features “the kind of architecture that doesn’t happen all the time,” Levant says. Eric Fisher of Shadyside-based Fisher ARCHitecture took what was once a modest riverside cabin and created an ethereal, modern haven.
The street level, previously only a terracotta roof, is now home to Bergren’s minimalist photography studio. The middle level houses the kitchen and living space, while the lodge-like ground floor includes bedrooms and a den.
Each floor boasts north-facing windows displaying the constant current of the Allegheny River. The kitchen pays particular homage to the setting, with the water influencing every material and design choice.
A floating island rests on a mirrored pedestal and features Cosentino’s Dekton X-Gloss (ultra high-gloss) countertops, which reflect the view of the river during daylight. A cantilevered table by Tech 2000 Woodworks intersecting the island resembles a piece of driftwood. The island cabinetry, clad in a slate veneer, represents river rock. A steel support structure anchors the piece to the floor.
Additional cabinetry along the room’s perimeter is custom painted to match the island countertop, and a wall of back-painted glass above the Thermador steam range reflects the room’s light.
“One of the things I love about it is the whole place changes with the light,” says Stackhouse. “If you come up early in the morning as the sun rises, it’s literally pink all the way across.”
A Sub-Zero refrigerator is encased in stainless steel, while smaller appliances are hidden behind sliding frosted-glass panels. Power sources also are out-of-sight in retractable outlets while a scullery keeps all of the typical kitchen clutter tucked away.
A series of linear suspension lights above the table bring to mind the boom of a sailboat.
“The light fixture is really important because we didn’t want to obstruct the view,” says Bergren. “It’s very subtle. During the daylight, you can see right through it, and it’s not obtrusive.”
Ed Parrish Jr. and Vaughn Washburn of Hip Iron in Lawrenceville created a weathered steel fireplace connecting the kitchen with the adjacent living space, where the organic modern aesthetic continues.
Levant says all of her choices were driven completely by the owners, who have six adult children between them and wanted a space where they could do the things they love with the people they love.
“It works with our lifestyle because when we entertain, we’re cooking,” Bergren says. “People are always in the kitchen — that’s where we live.”
Architect: Fisher ARCHitecture
Contractor: Cummings Construction, Inc.
Cabinetry: Crystal Cabinet Works
Fireplace: Hip Iron
Hardware: Top Knobs
Stainless Panels & Shelving: Bishop Metals
Glass Backsplash: Emerald Art Glass
Table: Tech 2000 Woodworks
Plumbing: Grohe; Kohler
Windows: Loewen Windows