Designer rises to challenge in Baldwin kitchen makeover

AFTER. The mosaic floor cost about $2,000. It

AFTER. The mosaic floor cost about $2,000. It was installed by Dreamwork Remodeling, who broke the tiles by hand. (Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)

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When designer Wendy Lepkoff was thrown a curve during a recent kitchen makeover at a home in Baldwin, she made a mosaic. And that mosaic earned her a national designer of the year honor from the Interior Design Society.

Lepkoff was renovating the kitchen and den. After assurances from the homeowners that they had tiles to match the ones on the floor, she proceeded with removing walls to open the kitchen up to the adjourning den. Unfortunately, when the boxes were opened, "they were the wrong die cast," says Lepkoff. "The walls were down. The damage was done."

Lepkoff, 56, who owns Wendy Interiors Inc. in Baldwin, wasn't going down without a fight. She instructed the contractor to create an abstract tile mosaic using broken pieces of the white tile, along with purple and gray ones. It fits so perfectly under the table that it looks like it was her intention all along.

Her instincts also were spot-on when she decided to enter the room in the national organization's "Kitchens Under $50,000." Her award was the only designer of the year accolade that the Interior Design Society Long Island New York Chapter has ever won. It was a banner year for Long Island, as the local group won chapter of the year.

Here's how Lepkoff took a kitchen from outdated to sleek and modern.


A. MOSAIC FLOOR, $2,000

The abstract shape of the mosaic softens the division between the rooms. Tiles from Old Country Ceramic Tile, Westbury. Installed by Dreamwork Remodeling, Merrick, whose craftsmen broke the tiles by hand.


B. BAR STOOLS, $2,530

Includes four stools ($2,360) from Elements Distinctive Lighting, Carle Place; recovered in vinyl ($170) by a designer-only source


C. ISLAND, $950

Fabrication by All County Millworks, Copiague


D. CEILING FAN, $500

From Elements


E. WALL REMOVAL, included in construction, below; the original kitchen walls extended beyond the new mosaic.


F. CABINETS, existing


G. STAINLESS-STEEL PANEL for REFRIGERATOR, $450

Lepkoff says most people don't realize you can buy new panels for major appliances. "You don't have to always buy new appliances," Lepkoff says of the homeowners' Sub-Zero refrigerator. Purchased through the contractor


H. WHIRLPOOL DISHWASHER, $815

From Home Appliance Corp., Oceanside


I. BACKSPLASH, $6,010

Tile ($3,010) from Old Country Ceramic Tile Inc., Westbury; installed ($3,000) by Dreamwork Remodeling


J. PAINT, $700

Benjamin Moore Baltic Gray (two gallons) for the ceiling and Wet Concrete (one gallon) for the walls; includes wallpaper removal in the den and kitchen and three-color treatment on the doors, paint supplied and all work done by Anthony Golio of Traditional Paperhanging and Painting, Westbury


K. VALANCE, $770

Fabric ($310) from The Fabric Mill, Plainview; fabrication ($460) by a designer-only source; installed by Sal Palmeri, a designer-only source


L. HUNTER DOUGLAS WOOD BLINDS, $435

Supplied ($300) by Tentina, designer-only fabricator for Hunter Douglas; installed ($135, including valance) by Palmeri


M. SINK and FAUCET, $3,260

Sink is from Franke USA; faucet is made by Moen, purchased through Green Art Plumbing Supply, Freeport


N. GRANITE COUNTER, $6,410

From Mackson Marble & Granite, Farmingdale


O. FLOOR MAT, $100

Bed Bath & Beyond, Westbury


P. FLOOR TILES, existing

Not shown


MICROWAVE, $415

From Home Appliance Corp.


WHIRLPOOL ELECTRIC RANGE, $1,630

From Home Appliance Corp.


TOASTER OVEN, $150

Bed Bath & Beyond


CABINET HARDWARE, $840 (for 28)

House of Knobs, Hicksville


ACCESSORIES, $250

From various sources


PAINTED DOORS, included

"I look at the door as an opportunity to bring more color and interest into the room," says Lepkoff, who uses multiple colors to give the door a three-dimensional look. Work done by Golio


D. CONSTRUCTION, $15,060

Includes electrical, construction, plumbing, painting and tiling for the kitchen and den, by Dreamwork Remodeling


TOTAL: $48,275

(Includes $5,000 designer fee)

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