The existing kitchen opened to the dining room and nearby living room, but the space was not used very efficiently, and its layout didn’t reflect how Tim, Chris, and their guests actually used the kitchen. Even though the dining room and kitchen shared common floor space, they ate outside most of the time. For that reason, we chose to improve upon the back door first. The first item we purchased was a folding patio door made by LaCantina Doors, and we subsequently designed the kitchen around it. The massive door opens the kitchen completely to the deck and extends the indoor living space outside. You can now move between spaces effortlessly without having to juggle wine glasses and plates of food while navigating a traditional entry door, a change necessary for the open and casual living experience Chris and Tim were hoping for.
On the inside, we added headers to open up the spaces between the kitchen, living area, and dining area even more. We eliminated a redundant entry from the foyer and removed a set of stairs to the basement-which is also accessed from outside. This created a greater opportunity for storage in the kitchen, increased the perceived size of the space, and improved sightlines throughout the main floor of the home and to the outside gardens.
Cabinetry for Cooks
Chris and Tim cook to relax. They brew beer, make batches of mead, bake large loaves of bread-all process-intensive projects that require lots of equipment. Parking all of the equipment on the countertop wasn’t an option, and standard countertop heights are not optimal for Chris’s petite stature. To avoid common kitchen clutter, I created lower cabinets with large drawers to hold pots, pans, cooking ingredients, tools, and utensils. Within the large bank of upper cabinets, I included a unit that extends down to the countertop to house larger cooking appliances when not in use. Having a cabinet located directly on the countertop makes accessing larger items easier and safer, because you don’t have to bend or strain to lift them into lower or taller cabinets. While kneading dough on the dining-room table one day, Chris realized that the table was the perfect height for the task. She requested that a lower section of countertop be added to the design, so a 30-in.-high section of concrete countertop now extends across the kitchen’s longest wall. Beyond improved functionality, the variability in countertop height makes the space more interesting. All of the cabinets are made of verticalgrain Douglas fir, and the door and drawer fronts are grain-matched for a clean and crisp look. Most of the upper cabinets have lift-style doors that are short and wide in proportion, allowing us to accent the horizontal nature of the space. This also simplified lining up upper cabinets with lower drawers to yield the clean modern aesthetic we were after.
The cabinetry arrangement was made slightly more difficult by a set of stairs that interrupted the ceiling plane in the corner of the kitchen. Instead of hiding the intrusion with a box-shaped soffit or partition walls, I wrapped the stairs with drywall, creating a cheese-shaped wedge into which the cabinetry could die. The approach might be awkward elsewhere, but not in this style kitchen. A custom island makes the space In the heart of the kitchen, I built an island that is as sculptural as it is functional. I set the 2-in.-thick custom concrete countertop we made on a vertical-grain Douglas-fir base cabinet that matches the surrounding cabinetry. Chris, Tim, and I collaborated on the design, which features an outside edge that gives way to a Douglas-fir bar where guests can hang out and talk with whoever is cooking. On the working side of the island, large drawers organize the most frequently used cookware. The oven and range, set beneath a 36-in. Zephyr Napoli range hood, make the space a highly efficient and comfortable cooking zone.
The kitchen is a social center, but when just the two of them are working together and the doors are open, Chris and Tim feel as if they’re cooking outdoors in a bold environment ideally suited to their creative lifestyle.
Lovely 1930s kitchen in Montclair remodelled to show off the classic beauty of Craftsman style.
We went through 80% of the house sprucing it up. All the old light fixtures were from the 70’s and 80’s. Before, as you came through the front door, you did not know where the house started and stopped. The couple liked to entertain, so we opened the kitchen up to the dining room and living room. Opening the kitchen to other surrounding spaces is something we do a whole lot of and will continue to do. Some call this layout California lifestyle. It continues to be our bread and butter. The house sits in Sanders Ranch development on the edge of Moraga, and borders a big ranch, with hardly any other structures in the view.
The owner did a lot of work on this project themselves. Cathy put together cabinets and shopped for quality materials. This is the first time we used Ikea cabinets; as you can see the wood fits together well and looks fantastic.
I like the chandelier and the way the light looks over the kitchen table. Those fixtures are from West Elm.