The residences at 111 West 57th Street are among the loftiest in Manhattan, and their floor plans got Nicholas Potts thinking. From 2014 to 2016, he worked at SHoP Architects, the firm behind the sky-high condos, and he watched as Studio Scofield’s interior design team put walls around the building’s kitchens, sitting rooms and wet bars in the larger, more expensive units. To Mr. Potts, this signaled an end to the usual open kitchen.
After relocating to Washington, D.C. from New York City, Mr. Potts started his eponymous art and architecture practice. While remodeling his co-op dwelling with his partner, Aaron Wile, a curator at the National Gallery of Art, they opted to move walls, rather than to tear any down. At first, concealing lunch messes in the kitchen while working from home motivated Mr. Potts.
“Not having to be exposed to tasks you must attend to is probably the most calming thing a person can do,” Mr. Potts said.
He found that consciously sealing the kitchen off from the living room with a door and a wall made a noticeable impact. Separating the rooms made each feel properly proportioned. The living room, now more cocoon-like, was easier to furnish. Thus, what’s old is new again.
“Maybe it’s a post-pandemic thing, but nobody wants an open kitchen,” Mr. Potts said. “They want light and spaciousness, but no one wants a mess. It’s more calming, frankly, to have definition and to be able to remove yourself from a room where somebody might be on a video conference, or where you just made lunch but don’t want to do the dishes yet.”
Mansion Global spoke with Mr. Potts about how adding walls and unexpected finishes to kitchens elevates both working and entertaining from home.