Mixed Materials Add Eclectic Charm to Remodel

Ask designer Jean Zinner, ASID, CID, what the opposite of modern minimalism is and she might just show you a photo of this Calabasas, CA kitchen remodel. Zinner, of the Santa Monica, CA-based JAZ Designs, Inc., had worked with the homeowners twice previously on other jobs within their home, but she says this was the largest project they’d ever done at the residence.

The 13'5"x21'5" kitchen had the luxury of space on its side, giving the designer something to work with. However, it was curiously lacking in smart storage and functional workspace.

To address this, Zinner decided to go with a traditional/ transitional open-plan kitchen to create a Great Room within the home.

“The client discussed the need for more space for her family of five and I interpreted it by enlarging the kitchen and the flow into the Great Room,” says the designer.

The kitchen had the benefit of two pass-throughs which had the effect of making other nearby spaces accessible, and encouraging the passage of natural light from room to room. Both were kept in place for the new layout.


The placement of the major appliances was key to the success of this design.

The original layout had an existing Sub-Zero refrigerator blocking the windows which, unobstructed, would provide a garden view.

To achieve that view, the original refrigerator was upgraded to a Sub-Zero side-by-side model with custom knotty pine panels and was relocated to clear the way and allow for additional windows to be added.

“There were no windows in the old kitchen on the back wall,” Zinner says. “The refrigerator and double oven and pass-through were located on the back wall of the original design.”

The pass-through leads to the outdoor built-in barbeque, which the client frequently used as a serving area. For that reason, the Zinner thought it made sense to keep this intact in the new design.

To open up and elongate the kitchen, the sink area was relocated to the back wall where a Rohl farmhouse sink now sits.

A large window was also added over the sink in order to add a view of the client’s garden and further bring the outdoors into
the kitchen layout.

“The farmhouse kitchen sink is placed on the back wall primarily so the client can see her children in the backyard or when they are in the pool area,” Zinner says.

An oversized hood took up valuable storage space in the previous kitchen’s layout, and Zinner was careful to avoid that issue again.

Additionally, there was a lack of food preparation areas surrounding the appliances because of the configuration of
the walls, which the designer had to address.

Details, Details

The kitchen was designed to be a continuation of the home’s design theme, described by Zinner as “Old World Eclectic.”
The material choices made in various parts of the kitchen reflect this sensibility, including the limestone chosen for the perimeter countertops, as well as the repetition of unusual color throughout the space.

“Although there are contrasting shades of color and various textures, there is also an equal sense of proportion and symmetry,” says Zinner, noting the interplay of woods between appliance fronts, cabinetry and the island, as an example.

The various wood species used in the space, such as distressed pecan on the floor, pine paneling and the poplar cabinetry, are highlighted by touches of cobalt blue that appear throughout the room.

Both the refrigerator panels and the island are knotty pine and stained the same shade of blue, which matches the cobalt blue Viking range, added in place of the original cooktop. Beside the range is a warming drawer in the same shade.

Twin Miele dishwashers flank the sink area, and sport poplar panels which match the poplar cabinetry, painted off-white with a rich honey glaze, by Torrance, CA-based All Star Cabinets.

The blue coordinates with the Malibu reproduction hand-glazed tile mural and detailing on the custom-designed hood surround and backsplash.

“The Great Room and dining room, which are adjacent, repeat the shade of blue in fabrics found there,” says Zinner. “We updated the floors throughout the entire home [to] match the kitchen floors, and stained the existing beams dark to add texture and differentiation from the pale cabinetry and rich pecan floors.”

The ceiling was vaulted by Zinner and her team, and they added new skylights and drywalled on additional wood beams which were stained dark to add depth and dimension to the space. The beams also served to tie the kitchen’s Tuscan-inspired flourishes to the Great Room.

The mixing and matching of materials continues in the smaller detail choices for the kitchen, as well, including the oil-rubbed bronze pot filler and the European-style hardware, which add a note of elegance to the space.

Center of Attention

As storage was the principal concern for the homeowners, according to Zinner, the firm went through the plans for the cabinetry with a fine-tooth comb. The goal was to figure out specific storage needs, and then to find as much hidden storage as possible.

Functional storage and efficiency of countertop space led to a reformatting of existing spaces. The designer angled the corner cabinetry to maximize wall space and accommodate the housing of a large Viking microwave, as well as a lazy susan.

The client’s beloved dish collection was the impetus for adding glass-front door cabinetry on the perimeter walls. This allows the collection to take center stage, and lets the client enjoy seeing her prized treasures displayed every time she walks into the space.

But the glass-front cabinets also provided additional benefits: “Adding glass also has the effect of opening up and lightening the space while breaking up all the wood fronts,” Zinner says.

“Organization was key for keeping the clients’ three children, all with busy schedules, in check. We detailed every cabinet and drawer to maximize the space,” she says. “The size of the island is 38"x77" and accommodates multiple cooks at once, including the kids,” she continues.

Open storage was built into the island cabinetry to accommodate the needs of the smaller children, while a built-in coffee center and wine refrigeration addressed the client’s desire for touches which would be useful for entertaining purposes.
Since the client is an avid cook, the center island was useful from both an aesthetic and functional standpoint.

Topped by a butcher block countertop, the island also contains a white porcelain Kohler self-rimming bar sink and Rohl faucet.

Hanging above it is one of two custom wrought-iron chandeliers which serve as the space’s ambient lighting, while recessed cans provide the primary illuminating source over the peninsula. A lighting designer consulted with Zinner on the project.

“We retained the original footprint of the peninsula and updated the materials. The homeowner wanted the peninsula to be used as a gathering area for the family and a place to do homework,” says Zinner.

She also removed the cabinetry over the countertop to create a space for a bar, which would be suitable for enjoying quick meals. This had the added effect of opening a line-of-sight into the kitchen from adjacent rooms.

“A pleasing view of the garden resulted from removing the overhead cabinetry,” comments Zinner.

The peninsula has also worked well for the family of five, functionally speaking. In fact, the client says her family now enjoys having breakfast and lunch in the space every day.

For more about this project, click here.