This past winter, Marcus Samuelsson and Maya Haile were expecting their second child when they embarked on the renovation of a 1970s shingled cottage in Sag Harbor, New York. Maya is an international model, Marcus is a chef, food activist, and cookbook author who runs an empire of restaurants (several of which partnered with World Central Kitchen in the first months of the pandemic to serve community meals). In other words, their plates were full and they wanted to get the project done quickly.
Conveniently, Marcus had recently begun working with GE’s Monogram Luxury Appliances team, helping them, in their words, “to develop a culinary POV.” When Marcus mentioned that he and Maya could use guidance on their kitchen remodel, the company connected him with creative director for Monogram appliances, Richard Anuszkiewicz, and the three hit it off.
Since travel was inadvisable, the Nashville-based kitchen designer worked on Marcus and Maya’s place remotely: “we had a lot of Zoom tours and exchanged a lot of photos.” To gain much-needed additional space, Richard suggested “dissolving the dining room,” and connecting the kitchen to the living space, for a much more informal approach that made sense to all. “As was, the kitchen was pushed in a corner; I wanted it to represent how big the kitchen is in Marcus’s life,” says Richard. In coming up with a plan, Richard took his cues from the chef’s culinary panache and also his fashion sense and cultural references: “Marcus is not afraid to be bold; his style is all about layering in pattern and color.”
The foundation for the design was a black-and-white diamond-patterned floor tile the couple had already picked out. The textural oak cabinet doors came from Reform of Denmark, a nod to Marcus’s Scandinavian upbringing (“I may be the only Swediopian you’ll ever meet,” he says: like Maya, he’s from Ethiopia, and he and his sister were raised by a family in Gothenburg, Sweden—Sag Harbor, he often comments, reminds him of the fishing village he grew up in). An emerald backsplash serves as a vibrant backdrop for images of the chef in action. And the appliances, of course, are by Monogram. The kitchen was more or less ready in a mere three months—in time for the recent arrival of Maya and Marcus’s daughter.
Photography by Angie Mosier, courtesy of Reform and Monogram Luxury Appliances.
The quarter-sawn, oiled-oak cabinets with stainless steel knobs are from Reform’s Frame line by Note Design Studio. Reform is a global Danish company specializing in adaptable kitchen designs by top architects and designers that front Ikea Sektion base cabinets: see, for instance, Base Cabinets by Ikea, Chic and Colorful Doors by Reform and Danish Design Star Cecilie Manz’s Ikea Hack Kitchen. The company now also makes its own modular cabinets and solid-wood drawers, which are what were used here.
The “tower” cabinets on either side of the stove are where the family store everyday tableware. Marcus keeps his knives in a classic wood block and in a fitted drawer in the island.
The counters and expansive island are topped with Cosentino Dekton, a solid surface in brown-black with gold veining. At Marcus’s request, the island is inset with a Monogram 36-inch Induction Cooktop that’s perfectly flush, so it can be used for serving. For chopping, the chef has a collection of cutting boards that tuck into vertical storage slots by the sink.
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