This Kitchen Isn't Just Pretty—It's Practically Indestructible

Got a scratch? Just sand it down!

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Thomas Loof

The first time we saw the kitchen of this Brooklyn townhouse decorated by Garrow Kedigian, we were in love—and that was before we knew that architect Asa Barak had built it to be practically indestructible, too! We spoke to Barak about the trio of unconventional materials he used to make every surface totally kid- (and life-) proof. One thing they all have in common: As wear and tear accumulates, they can be sanded down to expose their original finishes. How's that for renewability?

VALCHROMAT

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Thomas Loof

The cabinets aren’t painted; they’re made from Valchromat, a super-durable medium density fiberboard (MDF) that’s pigmented all the way through, and then finished with a clear, matte coating called Rubio Monocoat. When the inevitable nicks and scrapes happen, the owners can just sand down the top layer—the color stays intact because it's part of the material—and re-coat. Put another way? “It lasts forever,” Barak says.

RAW BRASS

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Thomas Loof

Barak used raw—i.e. unlacquered—brass for the backsplash and kitchen island, which he sanded and then buffed. Because there's no protective coating, the brass will develop a beautiful patina over time. "We intentionally chose what we call 'living' materials rather than those with a layered finish," explains Barak. "In a kitchen—where there’s touching, cooking, and spills—the tactility is recorded in that material, which is what I love about it."

VIROC

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Thomas Loof

Viroc, a fireproof cement composite that comes in panels, is another one of Barak's go-to materials. He used it on the perimeter of the ceiling to build a box to hide the house's HVAC. It also acts as a smoke screen—because of the recessed portion in the center, smoke will gather there rather than seep into the adjacent living and dining rooms.


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