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Kitchen of the Week: Embracing the Old with Quintana Partners

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Kitchen of the Week: Embracing the Old with Quintana Partners

June 1, 2017

Quintana Partners do plenty to the kitchens they remodel, but you’d never know it. Based on the Spanish island of Menorca (land of white sand bays and British colonial architecture, not be confused with its larger neighbor Mallorca), the design firm specialize in resuscitating atmospheric, old seaside houses.

When it comes to kitchen remodels, rather than taking the familiar remove-and-replace clinical approach, the three partners—Escat Benito Diaz; his son, Benito Escat Velez; and Pol Castells—believe in leaving next to no trace. And so they introduce new plumbing, electricity, and appliances, and often re-scale the spaces (“most of the time, there are height sizes that are not compatible anymore in the 21st century; the population used to be shorter a hundred years ago,” Pol tells us), while also preserving tile work, revealing original paint, and adding simpatico antiques. Count us among the enthralled. Here’s a sampling of their remodels.

Photography courtesy of Quintana Partners.

Sa Calma

“Se Calma means calming place or House of Calm,” says Pol, of the townhouse in the island’s capital, Mahón. In the kitchen, Quintana Partners transformed a trio of small rooms with “Formica elements” into one large, airy workspace.
Above: “Se Calma means calming place or House of Calm,” says Pol, of the townhouse in the island’s capital, Mahón. In the kitchen, Quintana Partners transformed a trio of small rooms with “Formica elements” into one large, airy workspace.

The tiles and terrazzo floor are original, as is the laundry sink, which was given a new use and pride of place.
New appliances include a Smeg 5os-Style Refrigerator, Smeg 30-Inch Gas Range, Smeg Victoria Ventilation Hood, and Corberó dishwasher.

The marble-topped wooden counter and other furnishings are all vintage finds repurposed by the designers.
Above: The marble-topped wooden counter and other furnishings are all vintage finds repurposed by the designers.

The pot rack is a traditional Menorcan clothes rail. The pendant lights came from the local flea market. Explore the whole house in our post The All-Vintage Renovation by Quintana Partners.

 Sa Calma Annex

The designers outfitted a top-floor guest apartment in the house with an industrial kitchenette built using copper piping and modular steel shelving. “It’s not a place for a lot of cooking, just some tea and an omelette,” says Pols.
Above: The designers outfitted a top-floor guest apartment in the house with an industrial kitchenette built using copper piping and modular steel shelving. “It’s not a place for a lot of cooking, just some tea and an omelette,” says Pols.

Note the decorated fridge: The owners had bought a generic white model that stuck out in the setting, and so the designers decoupaged it with old magazine and newspaper clippings and glue.

Quintana Partners travel for their finds: the kitchen’s vintage enamelware utensil rack and clamp light came from a flea market in the South of France.
Above: Quintana Partners travel for their finds: the kitchen’s vintage enamelware utensil rack and clamp light came from a flea market in the South of France.

Townhouse A

In a formerly kitchenless structure that Benito and Pol renovated for themselves, they hung an Ikea Grundtal Rail as a utensil rack over the chopping board.
Above: In a formerly kitchenless structure that Benito and Pol renovated for themselves, they hung an Ikea Grundtal Rail as a utensil rack over the chopping board.
Vintage accessories, such as a medicine cabinet, lend color and a casual feel to the new space.

High/low pairings are another Quintana Partners specialty. They clipped an Aluminum Tolomeo Clip Spot Light on the end of a Grundtal Rail. The blue-and-white tiles are made on Menorca.
Above: High/low pairings are another Quintana Partners specialty. They clipped an Aluminum Tolomeo Clip Spot Light on the end of a Grundtal Rail. The blue-and-white tiles are made on Menorca.
The range has a retractable vent—see Remodeling 101: Nearly Invisible Downdraft Kitchen Vents.

Casa Telmo

Benito and Pol currently live in a historic house in the center of Mahón that they named after Telmo, an explorer they dreamed up, who “had traveled everywhere until discovering the island of Menorca.”
Above: Benito and Pol currently live in a historic house in the center of Mahón that they named after Telmo, an explorer they dreamed up, who “had traveled everywhere until discovering the island of Menorca.”

The kitchen opens to a dining room with a 1930s gray-and-cream checked floor, model ships as wall art, and a two-armed Serge Mouille light.

The medicine cabinet—used to hold vitamins and meds—traveled with Benito and Pol to their new house.
Above: The medicine cabinet—used to hold vitamins and meds—traveled with Benito and Pol to their new house.
“The kitchen was painted white, but when we started scratching, we found beautiful hidden layers. We loved it and decided to keep it as is,” says Pol.
Above: “The kitchen was painted white, but when we started scratching, we found beautiful hidden layers. We loved it and decided to keep it as is,” says Pol.

The house has five bedrooms and operates as a guesthouse; go to Casa Telmo to see more and inquire about booking.

Garden Shed

The designers converted an abandoned garden center into a summerhouse. Its rustic kitchen is in what had been a potting shed, with its cement floor and plant table still in place: “We took out four tons of plastic and did a lot of cleaning.”
Above: The designers converted an abandoned garden center into a summerhouse. Its rustic kitchen is in what had been a potting shed, with its cement floor and plant table still in place: “We took out four tons of plastic and did a lot of cleaning.”

New additions include stainless steel appliances, a stone sink, and solar panels to supply electricity.

A covered patio serves as a gathering place for “eating, living, and chilling.”
Above: A covered patio serves as a gathering place for “eating, living, and chilling.”

Go to Quintana Partners to see more of the studio’s work.

Working on your own kitchen update? Here are three more inspiring vintage kitchens:

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