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Dexter Morgan of the TV series’ fame needed a kitchen – that was the theme for this showcase home in Grammercy Park. 

Both a scientific technician working in law enforcement and a serial killer, Dexter’s world was bloody, darkly entertaining. It caught the public imagination with eight series starting in 2006.

Our design for his kitchen uses the pharmacy as a starting point. It also plays with ideas of fear and fright, in particular the power of shape of our environment to play with mood. Curves seemed appropriate here, surfaces that are free from sharp corners ask to be stroked and would calm or lull their users. You can almost drape your body over the ends of the island…

The kitchen excited a lot of interest. Its tactile qualities were described as ‘upholstery only in wood’ by a visitor whilst the house was open to the public.  Given Dexter’s role as a forensic pathologist with the Miami police department, he required surfaces that were easy to clean.

Kitchen cupboard - Dexter kitchen

You sense he favoured an ordered environment and would appreciate see-through eye level cabinets for a fast inventory of cooking equipment and dry goods. It was nevertheless important for the kitchen not to look like a full laboratory, hence Johnny’s decision to go for the effect of an old-fashioned pharmacy.

Dexter kitchen design

Display of those giant jars of colourful chemicals in old pharmacies, though mostly for show not use, were suggestive of the aura of medicine. Here the miniature drawers, perhaps full of powders, and the rows of shelves like a continuous dresser, bring a sense of order welcome in any kitchen.

The Showtime TV team loved the design and used the kitchen for events, hosting an evening dinner for design journalists with a red theme, the chef in a blood-spattered uniform and a menu of raw tuna and steak tartare.

Showtime Dexter design event

The walls of the dining room depicted fish exoskeletons by designer Amy Lau. We furnished the kitchen dining area with spiky carnivorous plants, chairs like fishing nets and ‘bloodstains’ on the wooden floor.

Showtime Dexter design - chair
Dexter kitchen floor design

The JGS team (and collaborators) proved how a kitchen can be a space full of playful drama.

kitchen cabinets and sink design

Click an image to view another USA project

Kips Bay kitchen project USA
San Francisco Presidio Kitchen project
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