Architect Maurice Levitch heads a design/build firm with over 50 years of
experience in architectural design and construction, Letvitch Architects & Builders
. With numerous kitchens and baths under his
belt and a style all his own, Maurice is a good source for design
ideas and has a thoughtful approach to this subject.KITCHENSHow do you begin the design process and what
is your approach to kitchen layout?
We start with a
series of choices to be made by the client:
first question focuses on the sink. Will
the sink face the outside or will it be placed on an island where the sink user
will face other people in the kitchen?
will the kitchen feature an open floor plan to include the dining room? If so, it is often desirable to face other people
in the room.
Will the kitchen include an
island? Will the island include a sink,
a stove? Will it
be fixed in place
or will it be more of a work area that can be wheeled around the kitchen?
The next issue we
usually address is seating. Decisions
need to be made whether there will
seating around an
island, in a nook or perhaps built in seating along a wall. Seating along a wall is a good way to
incorporate a few seats. We also like to include a connection to the
outdoors if possible. This allows for
indoor/outdoor entertaining with a connection to the kitchen.Cabinets and Storage – What are your
I prefer upper cabinets that don’t reach
to the ceiling. I like to leave the
space open above to add lighting and give a sense of openness. Pots, pans and
other storage needs should be planned and placed ergonomically closest to where
they will be used. Pot racks are often
above the stove , for example. A pantry is great
if you have the room. Also, a broom or
utility closed is great as a built in.Lighting, Windows, and Skylights?
We like recessed LED lighting in the
ceiling for general lighting. We also
like to add a skylight and uplighting to draw the eye upwards and brighten the
space. If possible, open up the ceiling
and add a skylight though an attic pop up. We like pendant
lighting over an island. Under cabinets
we like LED task lighting and above cabinets we like Uplighting – indirect
I prefer wood
over tile. We’ve also used cork on some
projects. If the floor connects to
another space then you need to match the material. Softer materials are better. Hardwood in the kitchen is o.k.Appliance Recommendations?
should be placed near the sink so that it doesn’t drip. Make sure the dishwasher drawer and oven door
don’t bump. Decide if one oven is going
to work. A Second oven takes
up more space. Electric ovens are good
for bakers. Induction tops are popular. We like to pair electric appliances with
solar panels otherwise I prefer gas ranges.
Some clients regard
the stove as a “statement piece”. They
usually go with a Thermador or
Wolf Range. Microwaves should be built-in if possible.Range Hoods – What are the choices here?
Style, which is a range hood between cabinets and Island Style which sits above
a range on an Island. Either is
fine. Avoid down draft hoods. Most importantly, make
sure the motor and duct
work are adequate to draw air through the hood.
I like stone or quartz
such as CeasarStone.
How do you start to plan a bathroom layout?
starting point is determining the client’s bathing needs. Does the client
prefer a separate tub and shower, or just a tub or just a shower?
We recommend a step in shower.
A bench seat or foot shelf is nice addition as well. Add a niche
for soap, shampoo and if the shower is large enough, do away with the door.
Glass shower doors make the room more spacious and have the
advantage of less cleaning. Position the toilet so it’s not the first thing you see when you
enter the bathroom. Decide on one sink or two and separate the toilet and bathing area
from the sink… so two people can use the bathroom at the same time.
Sound Insulation: Do you do anything special here?
Remember to include sound insulation
between the bathroom and adjacent rooms, including a well -insulated door.
The fan should be powerful and current Code requires
either a timer switch, a humidity sensor or a motion sensor. The best choice is a continuous running fan
with a humidity sensor.
How do you address aging in place?
Curbless showers are important. A wall-mounted toilet
can save space if the bathroom is small, and eventually leave space for
What lighting tips do you
skylights open up the space and bring in natural light. We’ve used skylights, dormer windows and
regular windows to bring in light.
In front of a
mirror, I suggest side-mounted sconces rather than overhead lights.
In the shower use a
recessed light or ventilating skylight.
Solar skylights are
also good and require no wiring.
We like floating
vanities or vessel sinks - again
we are tying to open up space.
Tubs vs. Showers?
I prefer a shower
to a tub as long as there is another tub in the house or a hot tub.
Tile-Floor and Wall surfaces?
I like either tile or
stone. Large tile sizes reduce the amount of grout. Wood or tile wainscoting
in bathroom is nice; it protects the walls.
We like built in
cabinets, and a recessed medicine cabinets with electrical inside.
[Photos courtesy Levitch Architects & Builders.]
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