Fire & Water: Islands in the Steam

<< Back to Robb Report, October 2003

On Jupiter Island, light and airy are the bywords, all the better to view the Intracoastal Waterway and South Florida’s palmy vegetation. Architect Kenneth Miller managed to capture that light in a kitchen that both conforms to the long, narrow property and is in keeping with the Craftsman style of the house.

“Designing a kitchen is a time-and-motion study,” says Kenneth Miller. “How many steps to the important appliances? Follow the food from the market to the pantry, to the prep area, to the table or snack bar; then follow it back to the cleanup area and to the trash. Wrap all these plans in nice materials, textures, colors, and good lighting. Design matters.” 

Miller took an open-ended galley approach, placing the work area in the center of the floor plan. The homeowners, who are fiftyish and athletic (they skydive and motorcycle), are based in the Northeast and use this house as a vacation getaway. The husband and wife love to cook together, and they have six children and four grandchildren, so Miller designed the kitchen with their traffic patterns in mind.

Upper cabinets were banished in favor of three towers, each 60 inches tall, at the ends of the base cabinetry. One is for a pair of ovens, one for a TV, and one for dishes and a microwave. Natural light filters in through a skylight and French doors that lead to the pool. And from the planning desk, the cook can look through an opening in the wall down a hallway to the shimmering water.

“The design is simple and straightforward, but warm and friendly,” says Miller, who placed an island counter just within the French doors for casual meals and snacks. The kitchen is expansive enough to include a generous breakfast table and a butler’s pantry that services the formal dining room.

Borders of geometric cutouts recall the Arts and Crafts movement. The mullions in the windows and French doors offer similar reference. A subtly curved countertop provides a graceful storage and display space. “I enjoy traditional styles,” says the architect, “but I favor the clean, honest geometry of contemporary design—like full-flush cabinetry, as opposed to raised panels and moldings—and using the latest energy-saving technology.”

Recessed downlights glow in a wood-paneled ceiling, the final touch to Miller’s use of warmly colored materials in a stunningly fresh concept. Clearly, the galley kitchen has been done to a turn.

Kenneth Miller, 772.546.5175




Refrigerator/freezer: Sub-Zero 550 Series
Ovens: Viking VGSO166 Cooktop: Viking VGRT480-6B
Exhaust: Viking VIPR180 External blower: Viking VPEV1900
Warming drawer: Viking VEWD100
Disposals: Viking VBFW1030 Dishwashers: Viking VUD141
Trash compactor: Viking VUC180
Microwave: KitchenAid MK1130xGQ
Sinks: Franke


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