When you visit the Nukitchens website one thing is clear: this is a company built on a family legacy and their desire to add value to every home they enter. “My proudest accomplishments are my beautiful family and creating the Nukitchens brand with four generations of family who have been dedicated to design and craftsmanship,” says Nukitchens Founder Joe Najmy. In fact, Joe’s grandfather started renovating brownstones in Brooklyn in the early 1900s, his father developed skills as a master furniture craftsman and his mother was a trained interior designer…in the 1950s!
According to Joe, it’s their teamwork that “transforms the way people live in their homes.” Najmy’s team starts every project with an in-home consultation. “This allows us to hear from the homeowners in their current space. I always feel that the house speaks to you,” he says. “We try to be preservationists while still being innovative. It’s amazing how much you can do with a simple alteration of existing space.”
Great Design is Colored by Many Influences
Joe’s aesthetic has been crafted through a lifetime of cultural exploration.“I was very proud to earn my college degree after 10 years, five colleges and four years on the road as a musician,” he shared. His list of passions is long, with big family gatherings filled with food and wine at the top of the list. He loves to cook and share recipes with his daughter Gabriella, who is an integral part of the Nukitchens team now. Joe loves to travel, especially to authentic cultural cities, towns and remote villages. He has visited many UNESCO Heritage Sites. Of course music is still central to his life and he loves jazz and blues, as well as Cajun and Zydeco performed in “roadhouses and juke joints.”
Joe Najmy’s Favorite Kitchen Ingredients
When you look through Nukitchens’ portfolio, you see a variety of styles, showcasing the team’s ability to listen to what clients are saying about their own tastes and desires. They’ve been called upon by Fairfield County architects and chefs to create their kitchens. So asking Joe for his favorite materials is really a snapshot of his personal preferences at this slice of time. “My favorite design element is a special character oak with a natural oil finish (seen in the floating shelves in the photo above) that we developed here at Nukitchens. It has the look and feel of raw wood with the protection of a special plant-based, non-toxic, zero VOC emissions finish.”
You can also tell his team trusts in the performance and design flexibility of Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove appliances, as these are seen in a wide range of Nukitchens projects. “All of their products are of such high quality and durability,” offers Joe. “It’s hard to choose just one favorite, but I would say that I really like the Sub-Zero undercounter ice-maker.” In fact, the Sub-Zero 15” Ice Maker produces up to 50 pounds of octagonal-shaped ice per day. It comes in sleek stainless steel or in a cabinet panel-ready design so it can disappear into the kitchen, pantry or wet bar landscape to be used only when needed. According to Najmy, who is an avid entertainer in his own home, “The Sub-Zero ice-maker is great for parties, family gatherings or anywhere you want to share a nice cold drink any time of year.”.
Nukitchens Eclectic Home Styles
Najmy’s family lives in a relaxed, renovated 1910 Four-Square with a wonderful wrap-around porch and gazebo. “It’s just eclectic enough for our casual lifestyle,” says Joe. Of course it has a Nukitchens kitchen designed for specifically for entertaining. Nukitchens has worked on a plethora of homes throughout Connecticut and beyond, encompassing a wide range of styles.
Recently in Rowayton, they worked with homeowners and their builder to design a timeless kitchen with a style they call “Natural Elegance.” The project, the result of a highly collaborative process, includes very light palette of natural woods, Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, honey bronze hardware, floating shelves and a unique workstation sink from The Galley. The result is clean, light, natural, contemporary and very elegant. When it comes to styles and design direction, a browse through the Nukitchens portfolio will reveal dark and dramatic, traditional, uber modern and more. This breadth of work comes from carefully listening to homeowners, architects and builders.
Note to Jacques Pépin
When asked about a project he would still like to design, Joe quickly says, “I’d love to design a kitchen for Jacques Pépin. He’s an icon, a legendary master chef. He always seems upbeat, purposeful, and yet relaxed. I think he would be an excellent client and we’d have a great time designing his kitchen.” In fact, Chef Pépin, whose longtime home is in Madison, Connecticut, became an even bigger hit during the pandemic as his daughter encouraged him to start an online cooking class. Perhaps Joe might still have a chance to design this dream project.