The art of creating a townhouse kitchen addition and aging it to look renovated rather than new.
That was the goal for Bay Area architect Andrew Skurman, set out by collector Susan Dossiter, who wanted the new space added to her family’s 1905 San Francisco townhouse kitchen to resemble what she described to House Beautiful magazine as “an old English service kitchen.” Practically speaking, that translates into the prominent use of tile, kitchen cabinets with furniture detailing, an imposing range (in this case a La Cornue Chateau), marble counters and an antique worktable repurposed as an island. A sub-theme is natural wood. This kitchen also had to serve a family with four children as well as the needs of a social couple who entertain frequently. Color is added only via accessories.
The main sightline [top] is informed by an antique cabinet, discovered in the Paris flea market, which occupies one wall. Formerly used to house merchandise in a French shop, there is a grid of 10 over 8 shelves on which the owner displays bowls, jugs and dishes, with storage drawers below. The cabinet also serves as the backdrop for a round wood-top table and reproduction Windsor chairs and marries well with a wide-plank, red-oak floor.
Looking across the townhouse kitchen in the opposite direction, it’s easy to see the seriousness of its purpose, expressed through the choice of appliances and the presence of three sinks, three refrigerators, two dishwashers, and a luxe custom range that includes a French top and private lessons so the owner learns to make it perform at the level for which it was designed. Quilted aluminum was used for paneling on the pair opposite the antique English baker’s table fitted with a prep sink and a new sycamore top. The third refrigerator is used solely for produce. A vintage butcher’s block sits alongside.
The back of the baker’s table is fitted with a pair of French towel racks used to display Ms. Dossiter’s collection of vintage towels. (Restoration Hardware’s Bistro Double Towel bar is similar to these.)
In turn-of-the-century style, beveled rectangular field tile from Waterworks is stacked on the range wall and in the utility niche while the piano sits on a matching hexagonal tile carpet – a smart, heatproof strategy when a 710-pound range with a pair of 22,000 BTU ovens gets fired up. The range hood is original to the house.
Waterworks also provided the pair of farm sinks and Julia faucets set in honed Calacatta d’Oro counters finished with a fancy edge. The honey tones in the marble coordinate well with the wood. Additionally there are twin dishwashers.
Images of this kitchen have found their way around the web in the past, usually accompanied by either a simpering drool or OMG eye-blinking over the quality and quantity of the appliances. This is a big kitchen – one designed to impress as well as serve the taste of a sophisticated owner with an educated eye. But what makes it noteworthy, at least for me, is the intimacy and individuality it retains in spite of its scale and pedigreed appointments. One glimpse of the small blackboard on the back walls tells you that kids truly do live here. And there’s nothing so precious that you can’t imagine them hanging out around the baker’s table.
(Source: House Beautiful)
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