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City Kitchen Renovation
A conversation with Frederick Wildfoerster of Virtus Design

According to Remodeling Magazine, Manhattan kitchen renovations have generated 121% return on investment for sellers in recent years. Here Frederick Wildfoerster shares his tips for optimizing this investment and making sure your new kitchen works for you.

\\ What are the most important things to communicate to the person who will design your kitchen?

FW: First and foremost, your interior designer needs to know whether you cook a lot or not. We design « cook’s kitchens » for those who love to spend time in the kitchen, and we also have clients who use their kitchens only to make coffee in the morning or to chill a bottle of champagne. How you plan to use it will impact the design and the appliances that we will recommend. We will also want to understand if you like to entertain and how many people will be using the kitchen regularly. Of course, the structural limitations and your building’s renovation rules must also be taken into account.

\\ What inspires successful kitchen designs?

FW: Start by thinking of your favorite kitchens of all time. Is there a kitchen you always wanted to have? For many people, the kitchen they love most is a memory from childhood. Whatever your ideal, it’s a good place to start, communicating to your designer what made it so special. We help clients get in touch with those memories and often use them as an inspiration point.

\\ What is worth spending money on when renovating a kitchen?

FW: The answer to this question lies in how much you intend to use your kitchen. The more you use it, the better the appliances need to be. For heavy use, we recommend Miele appliances. On the other hand, some appliances are gorgeous design objects and perfect for lighter use. Custom cabinetry is always a good investment. Most people are surprised to learn that it is usually less expensive than pre-made European luxury kitchen units.


\\ Which kitchen designs will increase an apartment’s resale value?

FW: Elegant simplicity is the key! Also using high quality materials that wear well and are easy to maintain. We recommend custom cabinetry because it makes the best use of the available space and looks good for many years.

\\ What materials are appealing for city kitchens?

FW: Caesarstone is beautiful for countertops and backsplash areas and is available in a wide variety of colors It looks delicate but is ultra- strong -- it wears much better than granite! Wood is nice for kitchen floors, much easier on the feet than stone. If the rest of the apartment has wood floors, why not extend this look into the kitchen?

\\ What’s new and eco-friendly in kitchen equipment right now?

FW: Induction cooktops aren’t new but the technology has improved drastically in recent years. They work as well as gas burners but use significantly less energy, and the kitchen stays cooler, too. LED Lighting is efficient and aesthetic. LED bulbs can be used with dimmer switches and can work for task lighting or under cabinets. With the right lighting plan, a large ceiling fixture may not be necessary.

\\ Any new kitchen equipment you recommend for foodies?

FW: The Miele steam oven is a great addition for healthy cooking—an alternative to the microwave.

\\ How do you approach designing a kitchen for a gastronome?

FW: We like to evaluate how the client cooks—is this person cooking for two, for a family, or for big parties? Is baking on the menu? Understanding the types of cuisine they prepare makes a difference in what will be the ideal way to organize the available kitchen space for efficiency and enjoyable cooking. We also ask what kinds of special equipment they use.