Kitchen Aesthetics
Fusing Form and Function to Create Harmony at Home
Designing the Perfect Kitchen with White Arrow

Kitchens have long been considered the heart of a home. And while most other spaces in a home might get away more easily with simply looking good, the kitchen has the added challenge of actually needing to function well too. 

Balancing the burdens of real life with personal aesthetic choices is something Keren and Thomas Richter, interior designers and co-founders of White Arrow, a New York-based interior design practice, are all too familiar with. The duo has brought their creative touch to many residential interiors over the years, and have become known for an elegant, elevated style that still feels approachable and easy to care for. 

Their approach to kitchens, in particular, expresses a special sense of harmony and purpose - a quality also reflected in Dacor’s family of panel-ready appliances, such as the 48-Inch French Door Refrigerator which boasts counter-height vertical bottom freezer doors that blend perfectly into its surroundings, and the 36-Inch Column Refrigerator that offers a truly flush fit. The 24-Inch Wine Column can also deliver an equally integrated feel. 

In most of White Arrow’s projects, the kitchen is a serene space that embraces pops of color and a unified material palette so that the metal tone of appliances either fits in seamlessly or can be concealed by paneling and millwork. Here, we sit down with Keren Richter to delve into what makes a kitchen perfect. 

Q: How would you describe your design approach and philosophy as a whole?

KR: I love interiors that have a collected feel to them. We achieve this warm, layered atmosphere by incorporating antique pieces, vintage finds, and architectural salvage in all of our projects. We enjoy combining various ideas and along with an eclectic mix of designers to create interiors customized for our clients' preferences for living and entertaining.

Q: How much does this carry through in the kitchen space?

KR: We always honor the spirit of the home and the client. When starting a project, we draw inspiration from the home's location and existing conditions. If we are designing within a modern home, a contemporary or avant-garde kitchen design totally works, but in homes that are landmarked or have an old-world feel, I prefer bringing in millwork that feels like it has always been there.  

Q: What are some of the challenges of creating a design concept for the kitchen? And how do you typically overcome these?

KR: Our interior projects in Berlin or Manhattan co-ops have specific regulations we must adhere to. For instance, we may need to use recirculating vents and electric cooktops, or design the space to incorporate various ""wet over dry"" rules. Additionally, we work closely with our clients to create a design scheme that is inspired by the way they want to live. If they entertain frequently, we may recommend two dishwashers, or if they have kids, we may suggest a pantry or appliance garage. Our ultimate goal is to not only create beautiful spaces, but also highly functional ones.

Q: What are some of the easiest and most effective ways to transform a kitchen?

KR: I love color - finding ways to incorporate it through custom-painted millwork colors, a bold tile, or dramatic, colorful marble. 

Q: What are some methods you rely on to make the kitchen feel like a natural extension of the rest of the home?

KR: We always take into account the adjacent rooms; we think about the sight lines and how the finishes and metals reappear thematically. We'll panel appliances so the kitchen millwork feels more like furniture, and provide options to organize and hide clutter, such as appliance garages, hidden pantries, and closed storage. Combined with a mix of decorative shelves or options for art and display, along with layered lighting makes these spaces feel welcoming. Bringing in under-counter lighting, sconces, task lighting, and flush mounts on dimmers also helps a room glow or disappear, depending on the occasion. 

Q: What is your preference when selecting appliances that will integrate well in the kitchen - stainless steel finishes, panels, etc? and why? 

KR: When we design custom millwork, we usually incorporate paneled appliances, which allow us to showcase the oven, while concealing the dishwasher and refrigerator behind the paneling. Depending on the home's aesthetic, hoods and sinks can either blend in or become the focal point. Although statement appliances can work well in retro interiors, they haven't been my preferred choice so far.

All Dacor Built-In Refrigerators and Dishwashers are available in Graphite or Silver Stainless and Panel Ready enabling seamless integration to any kitchen design.

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