San Francisco, CA— Each design project is like a thumbprint: as unique as its owner, according to designer Mark Hermogeno. Hermogeno's septuagenarian client had an unusual request that ended up shaping the face of his new kitchen: He wanted to watch television while cooking.
Hermogeno, principal designer/owner of San Francisco-based Hermogeno Designs, was happy to oblige his client's unusual request and, in conjunction with architect Daphe Le, owner of D Design Inc. of Tarzana, CA and general contractors California Dream Remodeling & Construction, totally renovated this 1,400-sq.-ft. townhouse.
Hermogeno says: "After 20 years of living in the same apartment-like condominium, this 77-year-old retired engineer decided to purchase a new home for himself. The day after he closed escrow, we took his keys and told him he'd have his ideal home in less than two-and-a-half months."
The Primetime Kitchen
The designer has one word to describe the layout of the old kitchen: nonsensical.
"The original kitchen was a double galley with a laundry room at the end of it. That layout made the overall functionality of the floor where they are located just nonsensical," he says.
In order to do laundry, the client would have to climb up a flight of stairs, walk through the front hallway, the living room, the dining room and the kitchen to reach the washer and dryer. At 77, that much walking while carrying laundry seemed like a bad idea to both client and designer. The solution? The laundry room was moved to the adjoining wall of the powder room, located just off the top of the stairs. This move cut the laundry trekking in half and gave Hermogeno's team more room to provide the kitchen storage the client needed.
This is where the client's above-mentioned addiction to television began to shape the kitchen's 111-sq.-ft. floor plan.
"My client requested two televisions to be positioned side-by-side in the living room and also wanted to have one in the kitchen, so he that he could watch shows while preparing food. The solution we devised was to remove the wall between the living room and the kitchen; that removed the need to place a TV in the kitchen."
The removal of the wall created a clear line-of-sight to the client's new entertainment center. This includes a 65" Panasonic 3D TV and a 50" Samsung LCD TV with 10 audio/visual components all encased in a custom entertainment cabinet fabricated in the same materials as the kitchen – which ties the two rooms together.
"Additionally, by opening the wall, the travel distance from the garage to the kitchen is shortened, which makes it handy for our client to carry his groceries and other items into the house without too much walking," says Hermogeno.
The redesign changed the claustrophobic character of the kitchen, in part by opening the wall between the kitchen and living room, and also by turning the original doorway into the kitchen into a pass-through to the dining room.
"This open floor plan really made the main portion of the kitchen the focal point: the wall with upper cabinets, the cooktop, microwave and refrigerator," comments Hermogeno.
Because of his client's age, as well as his height, Hermogeno tried to avoid using storage that would force him to have to bend down to find items in lower cabinets. However, he also needed to maintain a wealth of countertop space above the base cabinetry for prep work.
The designer says: "The solution for this was the use of a lazy susan in one corner, multiple drawer banks and no shelves under the sink or cooktop. Storage on the opposite side of the kitchen is a series of floor-to-ceiling pantries with the shelves spaced evenly enough so that the client could actually step back and visually see the contents of the cabinets."
A redesigned lighting scheme is critical to the success of the new kitchen, as well.
"The kitchen's previous lighting was typical of 1970s-'80s construction: tubular fluorescent lighting. Some of the panels from the fixtures were missing when the client took possession of the unit. These were replaced by Title 24-compliant recessed cans. We chose not to place any pendant lighting or any other ceiling lighting as we wanted the aesthetic to be clean and simple," says the designer.
For more about this project, click here.