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Miton: 'The Ferrari of kitchens'.


Kitchens are no longer just kitchens. What started out as a place to simply cook and clean has morphed into an everything room where, well, everyone gathers for myriad reasons.

"It's really the entertainment center," said designer Elaine. Lewis.

And Lewis believes she has found a way to give luxury residential developers more for their money when it comes to these "entertainment centers" as well as bathrooms. Lewis, of the Elaine Lewis International design firm, has joined with longtime associates George Despotopoulos and Steve Teplidis, of the Knosses millwork company in Queens, to create Miton New York. The venture is the local contract division of Miton, the Italian exporter of modular kitchens.

While standing inside the Miton New York showroom at 6th Avenue and 14th Street recently, Despotopoulos compared a Miton kitchen to a Ferrari in terms of style and quality. But not price.

"That (Italian) pride and detail comes through ... and we have it for the masses," he said, adding Miton is made overseas but takes advantage of an automated production line.

Even with the rising Euro, Miton can provide a product for a competitive rate, Lewis said. Lewis and Despotopoulos added that starting prices can run as low as $250 p/sf for developers.

"Everyone has to be budget-conscious," Lewis said of today's economic climate. "What makes one condo project different from the competition is the finishes and amenities. We have something new and fresh."

Miton New York is working with the condo, co-op and rental community and is putting in a prototype for a Sheldon Solow project at York Avenue and 61st Street, Lewis said.

The company's Manhattan base showcases special hardware that makes it impossible to slam drawers. Other mockups feature kitchens with Ferrari-red cabinets and small and round cooking surface with carousel-style drawers. Lewis called Miton kitchens and bathrooms "custom pre-made" with a virtually unlimited range of styles and colors.

"Ninty percent of it is really contemporary and modem," she said. "It's not something for someone looking for a traditional kitchen. It's European style."

For example? "A very big thing is stainless steel and people don't think about that too much," she said. "Of course, developers have to stay pretty neutral. You can stay neutral but with interesting countertops and the right hardware. You can have a dramatic look that's very appealing to the luxury buyers. Although it's affordable, we're appealing to the luxury buyer."

Lewis, who has designed interiors for people such as John McEnroe and the Rolling Stones, has long been a proponent of eco-friendly materials. This carries on to her Miton New York venture. "We're going green," she said. "We're big on that."

Lewis and Despotopoulos said they offer developers and their design teams "360 degrees of support"--from the planning phase to installation and post-installation. Or, as Miton's Vice President of Marketing and Sales Allen Gutwirth said of Miton New York: "It's a turnkey solution."
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Author:Majeski, John
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jul 16, 2008
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