European Kitchen Features Function With Flair

European Kitchen Features Function With Flair

By John Filippelli

The clients, whose kitchen in San Francisco Adams had previously designed, contracted him to remodel their summer home kitchen which just happened to be located in Norway. Not surprisingly, they wanted a contemporary design that would be inspired by European aesthetics and a strong sense of function. However, they also wanted to be sure the kitchen complemented the California stucco style design theme of the home.

Additionally, they wanted a design that would facilitate food preparation, since both clients are avid cooks. 

For Adams, this posed some unique challenges. First, the kitchen's location made site tours less than convenient, so he was forced to rely heavily on the clients for guidance. However, while the location seemed initially daunting, ultimately, it was advantageous, Adams believes, since it allowed him to be more creative. As he explains, "European clients tend to be ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to kitchen design." 

A second challenge came in the form of lack of space. The original kitchen was small, long, narrow and dark, and needed to be reworked to accommodate the clients' desire for a more open floor plan that would be easier to navigate during food preparation. To address this, Adams removed an existing peninsula with bar counter, freeing up extra space and creating a more open feeling.

A white color scheme also helps to brighten up the previously dark space, while enhancing the stylish stainless steel appliances and warm granite countertops. 

Cabinetry style
Adams chose Studio Becker's M15 Series model Milano cabinetry to update the space from an "antiquated, traditional space with dark wood cabinets and raised panels" to a more modern kitchen that would meet the needs of the clients. This was very important, he notes, as the clients requested that the walls not be "wall-papered" with cabinets. 

The cabinetry is central to the room's appeal, with a high-gloss, beech-color finish that provides both a sense of warmth and contemporary style. 

According to Adams, he got ideas for the cabinetry by visiting European trade shows. For function, he installed large upper cabinets with doors that hinge upward and wide drawers to house dishes, plates and cups.

The cabinetry also provides the focal point of the kitchen, which, according to Adams, is a one-of-a-kind cabinet piece called "the wing." The piece, located above the sink, offers a futuristic component to the design. It is approximately five feet wide and features a slightly curved metal door with tiny holes. It is also fitted with a hydraulic system. The door swings upward when opened, exposing large, deep shelves, making it both aesthetically bold and easily accessible, Adams states. 

The cabinets are made of solid wood and feature brushed nickel handles. A set of 5' wide pull-out drawers located under the stove feature a white gloss finish that matches panels on the dishwasher and refrigerator, as well. 

Another interesting component to the room, Adams notes, "is a concave tall corner area that features open-glass shelves that are lit from behind, casting a light glow through the glass shelves.

"The back-lit glass shelves and the effect of the interior cabinet lighting in the 'wing' piece gives the perfect night lighting, which was extremely important to the homeowners," Adams points out.

Back-lit glass shelves feature fluorescent lighting that gives off very little heat and allows the homeowners to keep the light on year-round. This makes the house appear as though it is always lived in even when no one is there.

Further, a curved soffit, painted white and fitted with recessed lights, blends with the kitchen's other design elements, adding to the warmth of the design theme.

Adams also chose to mix and match colors with the countertops, combining black granite for the cooktop area and stainless steel for the sink area and prep sink area. 

Appliance guide
Ensuring that the space would remain functional, Adams incorporated a variety of high-end European products to meet the clients' needs. Adams chose a Miele range, oven and stainless steel hood as the primary appliances in the work area. The stainless steel hood and black-gloss cooktop blend comfortably, both in function and style, while maintaining the integrity of the design theme.

Adding to the design's contemporary style is the main sink and prep sink from the Studio Becker Design Element Program, both in stainless steel. Adding style and function is a 27" Sub-Zero refrigerator with matching white-gloss panels, which also blends with the color scheme.

A combination of granite and a beech wood parquet were used for the floor, both of which blend smoothly with the countertops and appliances. The parquet floor is mirrored in the ceiling and features a grand piano shape, Adams notes. The rest of the ceiling that mirrors the granite floor is dropped approximately eight inches to fit halogen down lights.

Storage space
While storage space was a key component of the design, the clients also required that the design allow them to freely move about the kitchen. Using this to his advantage, Adams incorporated creative storage space solutions into the design. The kitchen features two built-in pantries for additional storage space, Adams notes, both of which retain the open feel of the space while offering extra storage options. One, located to the right of the oven, is a curved, tall pantry and features 20 baskets that swing out. There is also additional storage in the curved doors of this pantry, he continues. 

The other, a corner pantry to the left of the cooktop, features half-moon-shaped swing-out shelves for easy access during food preparation or cleanup after meals.

Completing the design, Adams installed a backsplash rail to hang utensils on. Stainless steel swiveling baskets provide a striking final touch, making this a truly functional and visually powerful design that combines the clients' California sensibilities with a little bit of European flair.

project highlights

  • This summer home kitchen, designed by Troy L. Adams, CKD, and located in Norway, was created for a California-based client, and combines California style with European flair.
  • The major design concern centered around creating a multi-functional kitchen one that would offer avant-garde aesthetics and a sense of warmth with enough space for the clients, both avid cooks, to easily navigate. 
  • By removing an existing peninsula that came complete with a bar counter, Adams was able to open up the small, long, narrow space, giving the clients the additional floor space they requested.
  • Studio Becker Milano cabinetry, complete with a high-gloss, beech-color finish and brushed nickel handles, was used to create a feeling of warmth. However, function, too, is evident in the large upper cabinets that hinge upward, and wide pull-out drawers under the stove. 
  • These provide the kitchen with ample storage space without creating the "wall-papered with cabinets" look that the clients so wanted to avoid.
  •  The focal point of the room is a one-of-a-kind cabinet piece called "the wing." Located above the sink, it offers a futuristic component to the design.
  • The white color scheme was chosen to enhance the modern feel of the cabinetry, countertops and appliances, while complementing the overall California stucco-style of the house.
  •  Products include: Studio Becker Milano cabinetry with a high-gloss, beech-colored finish; black granite and stainless steel counters; 27" Sub-Zero refrigerator with matching white-gloss panels; Miele range with black gloss cooktop; Miele oven and stainless steel hood; main sink and prep sink in stainless steel from Studio Becker; KWC chrome faucets; Bianco real granite flooring, and recessed lighting and under-cabinet halogen lights.