San Francisco, CA— Sometimes immovable boundaries give rise to the most clever designs. Created by Mark A. Hermogeno, principal designer and owner of San Francisco-based Hermogeno Designs, this 1920s-era flat belongs to the cabinetmaker with whom Hermogeno frequently works. When he and his wife decided to remodel their kitchen, they contacted Hermogeno to create an updated style whose details would pay homage to the original Edwardian style while maintaining a footprint that could not physically be expanded.
“The challenge was to come up with an overall design that could coordinate and respect the home’s architecture, while fulfilling the modern living needs that weren’t being met by the old design,” Hermogeno says.
Nicknamed the ‘Updated Edwardian’ by the designer, the style of the kitchen and apartment overall is actually a mix of early 20th-century design styles, according to Hermogeno.
“Historically, the ’20s were the transition from the Victorian and Edwardian era to the revolutionary spirit of the Arts & Crafts aesthetic,” he explains. “
The home itself displays this shift, with its intricately carved moldings and stair railings mixed with simpler wood trim work, as well as Batchelder-style tiles around the fireplace that is also flanked by built-ins with stained glass-faced doors.”
Hermogeno, who is something of an Arts & Crafts devotee, says his clients retained many of the home’s original details, such as wood trims, moldings, oak floors and the fireplace surround. “Their eclectic tastes combine traditional and contemporary furnishings.” His task was to take their eclectic taste and the home’s style heritage and expand them into the kitchen.
The client is a cabinetmaker, which gave the project an interesting collaborative feel, as Hermogeno created the space plan and overall aesthetic while his client designed his own storage and constructed the cabinetry.
No structural changes or footprint expansion was done on the space. The remodel took place over six weeks, says Hermogeno. “The fairly quick design-build process was due to our inability to expand the space” because of the apartment’s existing structure, he says.
“Since only very minor work like floor replacement and minimal electrical work had been performed in the home’s 80-year history, we had to strip the space down to the studs and start from a blank slate,” says the designer. This included changing out plaster for drywall, adding new gas lines and replacing a small window over the sink.
“One major addition we made was the installation of a dishwasher, which the clients were happy to see after living without one for the five years they had lived in the home,” Hermogeno adds.
“Their guidelines and requests were simple,” he continues. “Keep the footprint the same, maintain the plumbed locations, add the dishwasher, maximize storage, respect the home’s architecture, and make it suitable for both entertaining and everyday cooking.”
The 128-sq.-ft. “modified” double galley kitchen is divided into different sections. These include a wet area for cleaning and washing, a cooking area with food prep space on both sides of the range that can also serve as surfaces for serving food, a pass-through from the kitchen to the dining room, food storage areas and a wet bar section tucked into the lower cabinets on the far side of the space.
“Because the kitchen is small, there are no places for taking a meal within the kitchen itself,” says Hermogeno, “although, the pass-through from the kitchen to the dining room does have an overhang wide enough to serve as a bar-height counter eating space.”
The cabinetry, conceived and constructed by Hermogeno’s client, sets the tone for the space.
“The custom cabinets are made of maple, the boxes made of a prefinished shop-grade maple ply, as well as doors with solid maple rails and 1/4" maple ply on the insert,” says Hermogeno. The cabinetry’s lines are clean and evoke a Craftsman style, with glass inserts in boxes at the top that allow space for display and bring the cabinetry to the ceiling.