Serving Up Inspiration

5 Great Kitchens


Serving Up Inspiration

5 Great Kitchens

    If home is where the heart is, then the heart of the home is the kitchen. It is here where all good parties begin and end; where so many family traditions are created and continue; where festive, tasty memories are made. And it’s the only room in the house where you’re supposed to get your hands dirty.
    The kitchen is the poetic nucleus of the home and, some would say, represents an individual’s spirit as well. Because of this, it is vital that a kitchen’s design reflects the personality of those who live in it. Unfortunately for many home dwellers, their kitchens don’t convey the proper message.
    If this is you, fear not; help is here. The following pages feature inspirational kitchens that beautifully show off the unique personalities of those who live and create inside them.

A Design Gem

    One of the world’s most prominent and talented interior designers, Barbara Barry is responsible for creating some of the finest home-product collections in the industry and is considered an unmatched design force. So when she was called in to redesign this Piedmont kitchen (along with the rest of the house that was originally built in 1910), the homeowners knew they would be getting a truly inspired creation.
    To that end, Barry pulled together an extraordinary team of international craftsmen to execute her exact designs. Part of that team was Tom Alderson, proprietor of Alderson Construction, and his project superintendent, Charlie Wheeler. “The level of expertise and craftsmanship, not to mention the artistic quality brought to this project by the team, was amazing to watch. Barbara herself was very hands-on throughout, and the results are remarkable,” Wheeler says.
    The finished kitchen, which seamlessly melds new and old elements,  is a timeless design. While the light-colored poplar cabinets, sleek black-walnut flooring, Absolute Black granite countertops with drop mitre-edge detail and stainless steel appliances are new, the windows are the home’s originals. Although also new, the plaster crown molding and the La Cornue range (imported from France) create the unmistakable Old World style that makes this kitchen a true classic.

Designer: Barbara Barry,  Los Angeles  | Contractor: Alderson Construction, Berkeley

His Own Client

    When Bruce Goff started thinking about remodeling his 1970s kitchen, he knew exactly where to turn—to himself. As the owner of Domus Design Group in San Francisco, the Oakland Hills resident became his own client. “I wanted a style that was unique and sleek. A kitchen needs to be easy to take care of and to feel very connected to the rest of the home. Since we entertain a lot, we had to allow room for six to eight people to comfortably gather,” he says.
    Tending to his other clients’ needs simultaneously, Goff admits that taking himself on as a client posed significant time challenges. “I just had to work it into the schedule to ensure my other clients came first.”
    The result is a unique design that features materials used as much for their green qualities as their beauty and durability. “For most of the project, we used materials that were sustainable, recycled and/or recyclable,” says Goff.
    The cabinets are called “Lyptus” and are made from eucalyptus, which is a sustainable material and grows like grass in Asia. The countertops, which are made for medical laboratories, are “strong and less invasive to the environment,” says Goff.
    The Ann Sacks crackle beige-colored tile used as a backsplash creates a dramatic contrast to the dark cabinets and countertops, while the hand-painted floors, antique wall screen and flea market–found fabrics used for the seating area add a convivial sparkle.

Designer and Contractor: Domus Design Group, San Francisco

A Modern Family Approach

    When Tish and Erik Moore purchased their dream home in Upper Rockridge, they loved everything about it—except for the kitchen. In comparison to the rest of the house’s rich, contemporary design, the kitchen was painfully dull and poorly laid out.
    Almost immediately, the couple set out to revamp it. “They wanted something dramatic and exciting,” says designer Spencer Knight.
    “We ordered this kitchen sight unseen, relying on Spencer’s expertise, his drawings and a small wood sample,” says Tish Moore.
    To that end, the Pedini-manufactured cabinets are rift-sawn white oak, stained dark to provide a striking contrast to the stainless steel appliances (which include Sub-Zero wine and full-size refrigerators, both with glass doors for easy visual access), and a white marble countertop and backsplash surrounding the sink. The cooktop offers a built-in barbecue grill and griddle and shares counter space with a handy integrated steamer. The most dramatic feature—both to look at and the installation of—is the cylindered stainless steel soffit/hood that gives this kitchen its distinctive flair.
    No matter how impressive this kitchen is to the eye and how easy it is to cook in, above all, it was designed to be child-friendly. “It was essential that our kitchen could withstand the determination of our creative 2-year-old,” says Tish Moore, who made sure her daughter was given two of her own accessible drawers filled with toddler-friendly tableware, making this unquestionably a family-style kitchen.

Designer: Spencer Knight Kitchen Design, San Francisco | Contractor: Power Construction, Richmond

Sum of Its Parts

    When the owners of this Piedmont home decided it was time for a kitchen remodel, they called their old friends from Custom Kitchens, because the company, under the tutelage of founder John Wilkins, had overhauled the kitchen once before, in 1982. Fast-forward 25 years, and the founder’s son, Jerry Wilkins, and Jerry Wilkins’ wife, Joy, own and operate the company. “It was amazing how well the 1982 kitchen had held up, but a new remodel was an opportunity to add new features and small changes to give the kitchen an updated look and better efficiency in storage and appliances,” says project designer Joy Wilkins.
    Despite the kitchen’s petite 150-square-foot space, Joy Wilkins and her staff were able to pack a powerful punch of amenities that include maximum storage within the custom cabinets, ample prep space on the granite countertops, a built-in Sub-Zero refrigerator, double ovens and six-burner range by Wolf.
    To open up the windowless space to the well-lit family room, an archway was created. In doing so, the deep countertop acts as a breakfast bar accessed from the family room. Additionally, the opening allows the more spectacular features of the kitchen to shine. Those elements include custom-built crown molding, a custom-designed hood (built by Robert Lavezzo of Oakland) and a muted-green ceramic-tile backsplash that incorporates the same metal “rivet” tiles (both from Walker Zanger) of the hood. Together, they all act to create true culinary art form.

Custom Kitchens by John Wilkins Inc., Oakland
Staging: Cynthia Taylor

A Speedy Delight

    When Jerri Mariott and Michael Silpa decided to remodel their Montclair kitchen, they, like  anyone else undertaking a renovation project, wanted to minimize the construction phase. Enter Custom Kitchens.
    To quickly create the “convenient and comfortable” kitchen that Mariott and Silpa wanted, project designer Joy Wilkins made sure that nothing in the couple’s old kitchen was touched before every single component for the new kitchen had arrived. “In doing so,” says Wilkins, who managed the in-house staff for the job, which necessitated tearing the old kitchen down to the studs, “we were able to finish the projected 10-week schedule a week ahead of time.”
    The updated kitchen includes cherry cabinets, a well-organized pantry, plentiful Moon Yellow granite countertops, hardwood flooring, an inventive backsplash of stainless steel mosaic tile, a built-in Sub-Zero
refrigerator and under-cabinet freezer, a 48-inch Viking range and an island work station that provides a separate eating space and a specially made roll-out drawer for dog goodies. Simply put, the amenities were everything the couple needed for a functional, comfortable kitchen that the whole family—especially Mariott, who bakes nearly every day—could enjoy. “We are very pleased with how our kitchen turned out.”

Custom Kitchens by John Wilkins Inc., Oakland
Staging: Cynthia Taylor

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