Thomas O’Brien’s Library House started with a vision for the kitchen. As the story goes, when the building next to his current Bellport, New York, home—a former 1830s boys’ school, which he shares with husband and designer Dan Fink—became available, O’Brien purchased it and started fresh with a ground-up build. “We both love to cook and dine in and when planning this house, we decided it was finally time to create a wonderful kitchen like we do for our clients,” he says. aerostudios.com
Talk to us about the floor plan.
The kitchen had to be both beautiful and functional and was laid out to accommodate two small rooms flanking the main cooking space, which sits at the top of a large, layered library. Both adjacent areas can be closed off allowing the main space’s kitchen island to shine. Inspired by an actual English table several hundred years old, the substantial island features clipped corners, lots of storage and a beautiful stone surface.
What was the starting point for the design?
I love marble and the way it looks in traditional homes.I had originally bought slabs of marble for the kitchen but on a trip to the stone yard I came across this Connemara marble I had never seen before. Sourced from the coast of Ireland, the veining reminds me of a vivid green landscape, which I knew would look lovely in the kitchen. It completely changed the space and became the total inspiration for the room.
That table is so inviting!
The dining table is the ideal scale for two or four people and is an old English design that falls into the category of brown furniture no one wants anymore, but it’s kind of perfect. The way we set it up is that the cook sits in the chair, for easy access to the kitchen, and the other gets to relax on the settee, but we mix up duties all the time. This whole area feels easy, even if it’s a bit fancy!
The backsplash transforms the space. Why a mirror?
The moment the mirror went in, it changed everything. It not only opens up the kitchen but functions as a window bringing in and reflecting light, which is important in this slightly darker Library House. You can see what’s happening behind you, so the mirror acts as a tool to see the full picture.