Craftsman-Inspired Style Puts Cook Center Stage

Catalina Island, CA — If there’s one thing Gary White, CMKBD, is concerned about, it’s having too many cooks in the kitchen.

White, who describes this kitchen as “Craftsman in a Tudor home,” notes his primary concern in every kitchen remodel is ensuring the cook has enough room to operate. Part of that includes creating a comfortable spot for guests to relax while keeping them at a safe remove.

“That was hard to get done in this kitchen,” says White, president of Kitchen & Bath Design in Newport Beach, CA. He reworked the space to add prep room for the cook, and made the breakfast nook an inviting place for visitors to sit and stay out of the cook’s way while being close enough to interact.

Peninsula Problem

The challenge for White was to create a stylish, functional kitchen after first addressing the space concerns inherent with the original kitchen’s impractical layout.

“There was no counter large enough for adequate food preparation or even to set down something hot coming from the ovens along the rear wall of the kitchen,” the designer notes as an example.

The peninsula was identified as the biggest hindrance to a functional layout. In the existing layout the peninsula essentially split the room in two, including the work triangle, separating the sink from the ovens. After eliminating it, the designer had enough open space to accommodate the homeowners’ requests.

“We consolidated the ovens by incorporating a freestanding Dacor range. This created ample counter space on either side once we moved the door to an adjacent butler’s pantry and out of the work triangle,” says White. Above the range is a range hood from Vent-A-Hood, in the company’s Gold Vein finish.

A curvilinear pot filler from Blanco peeks out of the range’s backsplash, which is a marble-and-glass tile mosaic with pewter tiles around the detail of the range.

“A second sink is always your best tool to create a more functional work space,” White continues. Twin stainless steel Franke sinks on opposing sides of the kitchen create what the designer calls a “split triangle.” This has the effect of cutting steps between the prep and sink areas. The sink nearest the range and refrigerator features an integral stainless colander above a disposal system, creating a well-defined prep area from the opposite clean-up area.

Savvy Seating

The seating challenges the space presented were two-fold: while White prefers to integrate seating into the kitchen whenever possible, the absence of the peninsula and the impossibility of incorporating an island made that difficult.

“It’s a sizable space, but not enough for an island,” says the designer. The option settled upon was to incorporate seating into the counter space between the prep/clean-up areas and the breakfast nook. The homeowners utilize that space as a meal-planning station; there is a computer and phone space, and the couple often takes quick meals there.

“I’m always trying to get integrated seating that is off the work triangle so that non-cooks and guests know where they’re supposed to go when they come into the kitchen,” he says. “You can create a psychological barrier that stops people from wandering into the cook’s path, or standing right next to them at the stove.”

The solution there was to make the breakfast nook a more inviting spot for visitors to sit; the space is close enough for interaction with the cook without interfering in cooking activities.

“By crawling around in the attic during the first stages of planning, I found that there was an enormous void above the seating area. There was also a typically Tudor rhomboid leaded glass window up there,” which White also notes improved the overhead daylighting into the kitchen.

“We opened up the attic and, in doing so, made a voluminous space in there. We then used a coffering section with dimmable fluorescent uplighting around the perimeter,” he continues.

The light plan was important to the overall success of the design. “By having the door to the butler’s pantry moved so that it’s right off the breakfast room, people could go in there to get drinks and stay out of the work triangle.”
Also in the nook is a desk and chair, which comprises another work station.

Craftsman vs. Tudor

During the planning stages, the homeowners made it known that, while the architectural style of the home was a traditional Tudor, they had other ideas.

White says: “Their style is not Tudor at all, and they asked me to take the kitchen in a different direction.”

The designer used a variety of Arts-and-Crafts-era details to create a warm, eclectic space. From the incorporation of a two-piece crown molding, to the cabinetry from Hallmark with Craftsman-style reproduction hardware from Top Knobs, the effect is versatile enough to suit the owners’ design elements, such as hand-woven baskets and statues that are reminiscent of African folk pieces.

For more about this project, click here.

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