Hollywood Hills, CA—While many people prefer to use environmentally friendly products in their homes, for environmental architect Jim Chuda and his wife Nancy, this was less of a personal preference than a mission. Co-founders of the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition (CHEC), the Chudas knew ‘green’ design would be a top priority for them, so they went in search of a designer who could meet their environmental sensibilities – without sacrificing high style and functionality.
The Chudas found their answer in Troy Adams Design in West Hollywood, CA, a firm that’s well known for its “FusionDesign” philosophy. FusionDesign combines European technology and style, American functionality and Asian symbiosis with nature, employing a mix of cultures, materials, design, textures and patterns. The philosophy blended well with the couple‘s own environmental focus – so much so, in fact, that the Chudas’ home ended up on the “healthy house map” as an example of a totally green home, thanks to its use of sustainable and renewable resources.
Designing with Fusion
Adams incorporated his FusionDesign concept when designing the kitchen and dining areas. The objective was to use an adjoining kitchen/dining room space to create a living, socializing area, with room for all of the appliances and furnishings, while taking advantage of an adjoining outdoor deck. An L-shaped island and open floor plan allows for interaction between people in the kitchen and the dining area and the deck.
When choosing the colors and the mood of the kitchen, Adams took a slightly different approach by starting with the floor. “Normally when we start with a palette, we look at the largest expansive material, and what we want that material to be,” he explains. “In this case, it was a cork floor. It was chosen because this was a green project, and we were using materials that were environmentally friendly – no fluorocarbons and no formaldehyde.”
Adams wanted to use a different but complementary material for the dining area, to provide a visual separation between the small spaces. “We used a serpentine shape in the floor, and made the kitchen cork and the dining area bamboo,” he explains. “Then we stained the bamboo to match the cork. That was the start of the material palette.”
From there, Adams pulled colors from the cork and bamboo to guide the choice of cabinet shades. Custom designed cabinets from cherry, wenge and Macassar Ebony were manufactured in Germany, because of the country’s stricter standards for materials and products, notes Adams. Cherry was used along the back wall appliance garage, and wenge around the island.
Macassar Ebony was chosen to highlight the suspended sink area, “because it has a dark, rich, Asian look to the wood,” Adams reports. “The two-tone look in the center of the wood pulls the color of the bamboo floor and the cherry wood cabinetry.”
The prep sink area features a trough sink from Kohler, and two faucets from Dornbracht. A brushed stainless steel countertop is highlighted by a sliding wood cutting board in end grain teak by Spekva.
Stainless steel, aluminum and frosted glass highlight the cabinetry, providing breaks and adding to the overall contemporary feel.
The countertops also provide a modern yet earthy aesthetic, with multiple materials setting the tone.
Lavastone, which is quarried from a volcano in France, is used in the kitchen in both untreated and enameled form in a berry color “to pull a little bit of color out of the Macassar Ebony wood,” notes Adams. The two are integrated in a free-flowing wave pattern on the top of the island, adding an interesting visual element. In the bar area, a tempered glass bar top sits above the lavastone.
“This kitchen features very clean lines, suspended cabinetry on the walls and sleek stainless steel,” comments Adams. “The use of so many materials, such as lavastone, bamboo, cork, cherry and Macassar Ebony, is another testament to FusionDesign – taking all of these wonderful materials and blending them so that they all kind of work together.”
The cabinetry in the room is more than color-keyed for design impact, it is highly functional and instrumental in the room’s overall design. The cherry cabinet garages hide away the appliances when not in use. “We opted for a corrugated surface there, which gave some texture to the surface,” notes Adams. “It looks simply like cabinetry and casework.”
Adams preferred that the appliances be hidden. “Ovens and microwaves and other appliances make a very big statement with stainless steel, and the lines aren’t always clean and smooth,” he offers. “We felt it was better to tuck those items away behind the appliance garages, because the kitchen was so exposed to the dining room.”
Cherry wood in a neutral color and aluminum roll-top tambour doors were used to create the garages.
The appliances themselves were chosen for their energy efficiency and their ability to be fully integrated.
The Sub-Zero refrigerators, finished with door panels, are situated along the corrugated appliance wall. An elevated dishwasher from Miele is housed in the appliance garage, along with other smaller kitchen appliances.
Also featured in the room are a Miele cooktop in the island, a Miele ThermoClean Pyrolytic oven, Miele Convection Steam oven, Miele stainless steel plate warmer and Miele 30” decorator island hood.
While the room’s design creates an overall mood, it’s the extra details that provide the finishing touches.
To provide a visual barrier between the working surface of the kitchen and the dining area, Adams added a water feature, built directly into the island. “It’s actually water running down a slab of granite, into rocks in the floor,” he explains. “The sound of running water is another element of Asian design, and it is soothing for diners.”
The glass-topped bar on the island provides two levels of seating; one level allows guests to view a flat screen television that disappears and becomes a mirrored wall when not in use.
The sink backsplash adds drama and functionality to the space. “We drilled holes in the stainless steel backsplash, creating a peg board approach,” comments Adams. “It provides a place for cutlery holders and paper towel holders and knife blocks. And, all of the posts can be mounted and relocated according to the user’s needs.”
Even the lighting plays a key role in the room’s design. Adams chose a flexible lighting system from Hera Lighting because he wanted to mount the lights on the ceiling in a serpentine shape to mimic the shape on the floor that separates the kitchen from the dining area.
“We put in low-voltage lights on dimmers to control energy usage and mood,” he offers. As a finishing touch, pendant lights were used to emphasize the bar area and enhance the lighting.