San Francisco Kitchen Receives an Entertaining Makeover


The owner of this authentic San Francisco Victorian on historic Laguna Street in the city’s Pacific Heights district wanted a kitchen built for entertaining. The new kitchen also needed to match the rich detail and history of the home and showcase the many beautiful collectibles from all over the world.

The owner wanted to expand the usable area of the existing kitchen to incorporate a more casual, eat-in dining space, since there was already a very formal, antique-filled dining room adjacent to the space. The kitchen also needed a place to accommodate guests while cooking took place, plus it had to blend with the outdoor patio area.

He turned to designer Caroline Whitworth, manager of Timeless Kitchens in San Francisco, CA, to tackle the detailed job.

She enlisted the help of a contractor that specializes in these types of renovation projects. His name was Kevin Gee of Tri-Line Construction, also in San Francisco. Kat Tragos and Galen Chinn, also with Timeless Kitchens, did the computer design and graphics for this project. San Francisco’s Truestone Distributing did the specialized granite fabrication and installation.


The existing kitchen needed a drastic update in terms of colors, finishes and appliances, notes Whitworth.

“The appliances were high priority,” she recalls. “They wanted the latest and greatest of professional-style appliances, and the clients changed their mind on a number of occasions up until the final [second]. The choice was mainly based on aesthetics, and the masculine view point won out.”

Hence, the stainless steel, Thermador 48" professional range and hood, warming drawer and dishwasher. A Sub-Zero 42" refrigerator and matching glass-front wine storage unit at full height, and a GE Spacesaver microwave with trim kit complete the appliance selection.

Whitworth and her team also faced a few specific challenges on this project, such as reconciling the length with the width of room and incorporating all of the aforementioned client’s appliance requests while still incorporating somewhat of a work triangle.

Furthermore, extensive construction work, which included a complete replacement of walls, ceiling and floors to bring century-old home “into square” and up to code, had to be done during the renovation.

“The contractor is very well-versed in this type of work and stressed the importance of accurate prep before an install,” notes Whitworth.
The end result of the prep and planning included “detailed soffit and room molding on various levels as seen in glimpses of the ceiling. This reinforces one of the [focal points] of the design: three-stack molding from the cabinets from Omega Cabinetry that blended with the multi-tiered, soffit room molding.”

Another challenge was the extended ceiling height, which was addressed by the use of the custom-height Omega cabinetry, the three-tier decorative molding stack and the various levels of ceiling soffits and molding.

The size of the island was limited in width as a result of the narrowness of the room.

“But seating here was essential in enabling guests’ interaction with the chef, and for viewing a huge, 60", wall-mount, plasma-screen HDTV, which was linked to the computer for morning e-mail access over coffee,” she explains. The island is replete with large pots and pans drawers, spice pull-outs and knife storage.

To join the indoor kitchen with the outdoor patio area, Whitworth installed a set of large French doors.

“A great deal of natural light falls into the kitchen from the side window and the huge French doors,” notes Whitworth.

“Undercabinet puck lighting enhances the natural beauty of granite [tops and splash], while interior cabinet puck lighting helps showcase antiques and collectibles,” she further notes.

In addition, she used recessed ceiling lighting “so as not to detract from the classic styling
of cabinetry.”


In terms of the kitchen's aesthetics, Whitworth’s design plan called for keeping with definitively traditional style in order to maintain the Victorian heritage of the home, and blend with the decor of the surrounding rooms.

Whitworth chose Omega’s Beringer door in cherry with a Mandarin Bronze glaze for its rich, classic appeal and its ability to mesh with “substantial, state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances, dark green granite countertops, the classic marble flooring, the soffit molding feature and the antique/collectible-filled adjacent rooms.”

Beringer’s mitered corners and double beaded molding lend a fine-furniture look to the space, notes the designer. The addition of glass doors to the kitchen helped open up the room, and Omega was able to match the cabinet interiors with the finish of the exterior, Whitworth notes.

She further designed the china cabinets to serve as a “link between the kitchen and the antique-filled dining and living quarters of home. They also serve as a showcase for items collected through the client’s numerous overseas trips.”

Häfele hardware – plus a host of storage options that include roll-outs, lazy Susans and task-specific interior fittings – completes the overall cabinet design.

“Omega’s step ladder, which fits under a sink-base cabinet, is frequently used to extend the height of cabinetry,” she adds.

A black border in the marble flooring “lends a subtle elegance that reflects the overall design, [from] the cabinets’ simplicity to the soffits, molding and ceiling treatments. And the full-height granite backsplash offers more luxurious continuity of the design elements,” she further notes.

Whitworth chose Blanco sinks and faucets to complete the design. “But,” she states, “the clients did not want a prep sink in the island so guests would not be splashed [while sitting there].”

“Thus, the pot filler was installed in the range wall, though it makes the distance to main sink greater than in most work triangles,” she concludes.