November 3, 2015

The Heart of the Home, Handcrafted and Handmade

Designer Nancy Ruddy gives us the lowdown on INSPIRA, her new and fabulous kitchen collection!

by New York Spaces

The Heart of the Home, Handcrafted and Handmade

By Nancy J. Ruddy, Founding Principal of CetraRuddy

Nancy Ruddy

Today's best design brings elements of craft and handmade into our everyday lives. I think these qualities have become essential to luxury. This also heartens me: Craft and handmade have been the lifetime focus of our studio's residential design work. One big question is, how can we make the bespoke and truly crafted a part of more people's lives? By this new and appealing definition, is affordable luxury even possible?

I think the answer is yes. With these ideas in mind, last year we reviewed our latest ideas in kitchen design, some based on themes we'd been exploring for years. For the kitchen—the real heart of the home—it seemed so important to feel these key elements of luxe: the crafted design, the handwrought materials, the custom-made, perfect fit. These were central to our award-winning condominium and apartment designs, but why couldn't more people benefit from them.

That was a big aha moment. We vowed we would launch a high-quality, bespoke kitchen design as a new collection, available to the public. This would benefit those many people who aren't CetraRuddy clients but who value great design. We found an ideal collaborator in IRP Designs for Kitchens & Bath, a custom kitchen manufacturer known for its exclusive clientele and crisp, clean, ergonomically created modern kitchens.

443 Greenwich Street

We named the kitchen line INSPIRA, for that moment of inspiration I felt—a special feeling we sometimes get in the hearts of our homes. CetraRuddy's goal was to achieve a captivatingly sophisticated appeal that is accessible, serene and attractive to the homeowner's creativity.

Working with a rich palette of materials, we conceived INSPIRA first as a bold gesture: a crafted, architectonic proscenium in warm wood tones that surrounds the cooking center, reflecting the home's spiritual core. The arch, which embraces a sculpted metal range hood, creates a dramatic focal point reminiscent of great manor houses of the past. Within this elegant frame, function is finessed through refined lines and hidden hardware, full overlay doors and maximized storage—all executed with warmth and memorable style.

INSPIRA by Nancy Ruddy. Photo by Bilyana Dimitrova.

We aimed to create a true cook's kitchen in an American style with international appeal. But it's the allure of craft and handmade that makes INSPIRA so special. Hand-tooled with uniquely crafted metals, woods, lacquered finishes and the glisten of glass, INSPIRA's meticulous lines capture a chic, modern feel while embracing the best of longstanding kitchen traditions. We settled on three finish motifs for the cabinets, metals, countertops and backsplashes: white enameled wood with nickel detailing is the first option; second, ebonized mink wood cabinets with accents of statuary bronze; and a third with dramatic, back-painted milk glass with nickel trim. Each ensemble inspires.

Most important, INSPIRA incorporates subtle, rectilinear detailing that recalls the luxury of traditional

INSPIRA by Nancy Ruddy. Photo by Bilyana Dimitrova.

cabinetmaking, interpreted in a unique and modern style. Rich materials and detailing immediately reveal the hand behind the work. The ensembles inspire, it's true—but it's the craft and the handmade that make them truly sing.

Nancy J. Ruddy cofounded CetraRuddy in 1987 on the principle that architecture should engage the urban fabric while enriching the human spirit. Ms. Ruddy has led many of the firm's most challenging projects and has served as Managing Principal, engineering the firm's growth. She is currently its Executive Director of Interior Design. With architect and partner John Cetra, AIA, Ms. Ruddy has grown the firm to its current 90 people and sustained it through two major real estate recessions. Additionally, Ms. Ruddy is an advocate for women in design and business, and consistently mentors young female professionals. She and Cetra will be inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame this year.

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