Beach Cottage Influences Soften Bungalow Kitchen

Project Highlights

Christopher Grubb, president of Arch-Interiors Design Group in Beverly Hills, CA, renovated this circa-1922 Cape Cod-style bungalow in Santa Monica and transformed the awkward kitchen into a space that can rightfully claim the title “heart of the home.”

Several beach cottage-inspired elements work together to create a calm, serene environment, including the island accented with hanging rope pendant lights and topped with Calcutta marble, Funtime Cabinet Factory cabinets with illuminated upper units, and Calcutta marble pillow-edge tiles for the backsplash.

The vaulted tongue and groove ceiling, accented with exposed beams, emphasizes the height of the kitchen. Grubb also raised the height of the custom hood to make the room feel more spacious.

Arizona Tile Metalwood Piombo porcelain tiles that resemble wood ground the room without making it feel heavy. The herringbone pattern is visually interesting, and is more contemporary to match the clients’ design aesthetic.

Grubb added professional quality appliances including a Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf range and KitchenAid microwave drawer.

Santa Monica, CA — By design, there isn’t any one element that takes center stage for this kitchen renovation completed by Christopher Grubb, president of Arch-Interiors Design Group, in Beverly Hills, CA.

Instead, the focal point is a compilation of several elements, with beach cottage influences, that come together to create a fresh, airy feeling desired by his clients – a newly married, young, professional couple with a growing family.

Walking into the space, visitors’ eyes move from the island accented with hanging rope pendant lights to the illuminated glass cabinets and Calcutta marble backsplash to the vaulted tongue and groove ceiling accented with exposed beams above. Finally they shift to the wood-like porcelain plank flooring and French doors that lead to the patio. Like the nearby window, the doors are trimmed in black to dramatically frame the abundance of natural light that spills into the room.

“There are a lot of rich details in the space,” says Grubb, “but they’re subtle. There isn’t any one thing that takes away from the overall calm, serene feeling.”

Fresh and welcoming

Grubb’s clients approached the designer with a desire to take their traditional sensibilities and make them fresh and welcoming for their circa 1922 Cape Cod-style bungalow. The existing space was awkward at best, requiring the homeowners to zigzag around cabinetry to get to the back door. Plus, the footprint was just too small for the kitchen to adequately claim the title of “heart of the home.”

The addition of a new master bedroom/bath/closet area gave Grubb the ability to push back the kitchen and gain about 10 percent more space. “It still isn’t an especially large kitchen, just 210 square feet,” he notes.

A major challenge was incorporating an island while providing easy access to the backyard, which features a great deck for entertaining. Rustic wood stools accent the island, while blown glass island pendant lights provide additional lighting.

“As cooks and entertainers, my clients wanted the kitchen to be a welcoming and comfortable place to congregate and prepare meals,” he says. “Just adjacent [to the kitchen] is a charming patio living space, so this space would be well inhabited.”

Updated farmhouse style

In keeping with their modern/traditional aesthetic, the homeowners wanted the kitchen to have an updated farmhouse look. As such, Grubb included Shaker-style cabinetry from Funtime Cabinet Factory and fit it with traditional bin pulls and clean, white paint. Lower cabinets, as well as the island, are topped with Calcutta marble.

Glass panels in the upper cabinets provide a two-fold benefit by allowing for display as well as opening up the space. “Glass-front doors make the space feel deeper,” he notes. “They allow another 12 to 14 inches of visual, open space.”

The vaulted tongue and groove ceiling emphasizes the height of the space to make the room feel more spacious. The designer also raised the height of the custom wood hood “to fool the eye and make the area seem taller,” he says. He accented the Wolf range with an inset of Ann Sacks Calcutta mosaic marble, with pillowed edges, in a herringbone pattern to add interest to the marble backsplash.

Contemporary and fresh

Underfoot, Grubb added Metalwood Piombo porcelain tile from Arizona Tile. “I’m impressed with the wood-tone tiles available today,” he says. “They really look like wood, and they have a great texture.”

Laid in a herringbone pattern, the gray-tone porcelain planks ground the room without making it feel heavy. “The pattern is also more visually interesting, and a little more contemporary and fresh to match my clients’ design aesthetic,” he says.

Addressing the concern for additional storage, Grubb embedded the Sub-Zero refrigerator with ample cabinets. A built-in KitchenAid microwave drawer in the island rounds out the list of professional appliances and keeps the counters free from heavy-looking appliances.

And, since no farmhouse kitchen is complete without an apron-front sink, Grubb included a Rohl design and accented it with a gooseneck Fortis faucet that functions like an industrial sprayer but features modern, residential styling.