Culinary Artistry

A Winter Park design team elevates kitchen areas to a high art.

The backsplash, behind the range isn’t exactly what it appears to be, with storage compartments hidden by sliding doors on each side of the center section.

Courtesy of Stephen Allen

Architectural Artworks is a kitchen design company in Winter Park with a shelf full of national design awards, many for projects right here in Central Florida. Certified kitchen designer Joan DesCombes and her artist husband, Roland, combine their respective talents to create spaces designed for entertaining, eating and, of course, cooking. Shown here is one of their local success stories, an elegantly executed renovation.

The existing kitchen was cramped and cut off from the rest of the Maitland home, so the DesCombeses removed walls to open it up to the family and breakfast rooms. Dated storage units and appliances were jettisoned and replaced with sleek and sophisticated accoutrements in lacquered white and stainless steel, and the addition of contrasting textures, accent colors and shapes creates a lively visual interplay throughout.

To further amplify the space, the ceiling over the work island was raised and paneled in cognac-finished wood; the circular drum-shade lights provide a softening counterpoint to the 90-degree angles of the ceiling treatment and work island.

Of all the exquisite details and nifty features of this beautifully appointed kitchen, one deserves a special mention. Take a look at the backsplash behind the professional-grade Wolf range (left): It’s made of the same richly veined Bianca Carrera marble that forms the countertops, but it’s not a fixed wall. Instead, the two sides are sliding doors that glide behind the center section to reveal cleverly concealed storage. Like the rest of the kitchen’s design, it’s a brilliant convergence of form and function.

Butt Kisser

Wondering what’s red-hot right now? Look no further than the Roxanne seat to get an idea. This luscious, lip-shaped creation simply smacks of today’s top trends:
»  Super-saturated color—Bold primaries are hot right now, and no shade is hotter than bright red.
»  Sculptural silhouettes—Clean, sleek lines are in.
»  Style with a smile—A healthy dose of whimsy is a big part of contemporary design for 2010, and what could be funnier than sitting pretty on a pair of lips?  
The Roxanne costs 1,000 to 1,500 smackers; 

In Gotha, a Dog With Funky Fleas

It may be off the beaten path, but Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha is worth the drive, not just for the food but also for the décor. Housed in the old Gotha Country Store, this gourmet sandwich shop is a veritable primer on flea market hip.

At the counter where the food is ordered, there’s a colorful mosaic featuring part of the owner’s porcelain dog collection imbedded among the tiles. Yellow Dog’s slightly eccentric owner, Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Fish Morgan, is the son of interior designer Lee Morgan, who had a shop in Winter Park for years and opened a second location in the Gotha Country Store in the mid-1990s. Yellow Dog Eats (the name’s origins are rooted in Fish’s love for canines)  started as a small side business there, gradually overtaking the space as the food trumped the shop in popularity.

Some of the touches from its earlier incarnation as an interior décor shop are still around, including a whimsical monkey chandelier on the second floor, but most of the current décor is pure Fish. An old carnival game featuring floating ducks commands a central location in the first-floor dining area, and old lockers salvaged from an English boys’ school now serve as wine display and storage shelves. Funky metal signs and posters, antique fruit crates, and other vintage collectibles and memorabilia converge to create an atmosphere as quirky as its charismatic owner.

Tsunami of Shade

Catch this wave and you’ll really feel like you’re resting on top of the world. The WAVE defies patio-furniture conventions­—it’s a sort of super-morphed hammock-sun chair-umbrella that doubles as a freestanding contemporary sculpture. A framework of highly polished stainless steel pivots 90 degrees at the base to maintain constant shade, and the mesh fabric blocks 86 percent of the sun’s rays, according to the manufacturer. It’s available in white, cappuccino, black or turquoise, and if you want one, get ready to wave goodbye to some serious cash: prices start at more than 25 grand. Go to for details. 

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