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In a Brooklyn kitchen where meal prep happens alongside homework and dinner party hosting, a classic island bar setup wasn’t going to cut it. So designers Lauren Williams and Morgan Gruber of Lauren Jayne Design joined forces with the architects at Henrybuilt to come up with a solution: a multifunctional piece that could do all the things.

Their client, a TV producer and mom, loved the idea of a kitchen island, but bar seating can be uncomfortable for an entire meal, and she still wanted room for a proper dining room table. So the designers and architects got to work on building an island with a built-in banquette. “She loves that she can cook dinner while her son is comfortably doing homework at the table,” Williams says. “Or that she can have her friends hang around drinking wine while she’s doing everything from prepping light bites to plating entrées.” 


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As far as the finishes, their client wanted the entire space to feel light and airy but not too much so. White oak for the cabinets complement the floor, while dark hardware and steel shelving opposite the banquette add contrast. To soften the angularity of the island, the team chose an oblong custom Wüd table made of resin and brass. Williams topped off the banquette with a custom cushion in Garret leather (so it’s easy to clean up everything from ketchup to Cabernet), matching Clic throw pillows, and a set of upholstered Superleggera chairs from Cassina. “Everything else in the kitchen is built in, so only the chairs are movable,” Williams notes. “We loved that these were lighter and really juxtaposed all that heaviness.” 

Once the Lauren Jayne team completed the project, the family put the space to use the very next day for Thanksgiving-eve prep. Now everyone gets a seat at the chef’s table and, most important, the clever kitchen combo ensures the host never misses out on study sessions—or the hot goss.