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.
The paint is Antique White from Kelly Moore. The cabinet hardware is from Top Knobs – Chateau Dark Bronze with an Antique Crackle porcelain.
Another light color was chosen for the walls; the client’s wife selected Somerset by Kelly Moore, a buttermilk shade of yellow. The light of the cabinetry and walls offsets the deep tones of the granite countertops and backsplash, keeping with other colors found throughout the home.
“They are a dark emerald green that appears to be black until light hits the surface. There is burgundy veining running throughout,” says Hermogeno. The subtle burgundy tones set off the warm composite cherry floor.
In addition to the Fisher & Paykel dishwashers, Hermogeno specified a 30" stainless steel Bertazzoni professional gas range and hood, which sit to the left of the pass-through. On the other side of the pass-through is a Thermador refrigerator, paired with a microwave by the same company.
The traffic flow through the space is, as Hermogeno describes, “S-shaped,” and at one end is a new picture window, which Hermogeno used to replace a small circular plate-glass window.
“Because the shape makes it hard to define a focal point, I think the window is the focal point for that end of the kitchen,” he notes. “There is a great view of San Francisco from that window.”
Below the window is a Blanco single-basin granite bar sink from the Blancodiamond series, topped with a faucet from Franke’s Triflow Corinthian series in Bronze with side-spray.
Other points-of-view in the kitchen were considered, as well. The lack of a kitchen eating space creates a separation between guests and the cook. “The pass-through allows the cook to stay connected to what’s happening in the dining room, and lets natural light flow in from that room’s bay windows,” Hermogeno concludes.
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