As someone who wrote about food for many years, it’s difficult to resist a kitchen created for serious cooking which also gets high marks for aesthetics. It’s an unbeatable combination I don’t see often enough.
Two essentials of the cooks + looks equation are great space and a generous budget. This Bay Area beauty, designed by San Rafael’s Joann Hartley, has both. Our pal and cofounder Jane T first sent me the photos of this kitchen since Janie likes to keep up on designers in and around her home town of San Francisco.
Here is a kitchen with what I call a “teachable features.” Those include adjacent banquette seating (at the very far end), a Cornue Fé French dual-fuel range, the stainless steel apron-front main sink sink, an eating bar, a stylish industrial style island with lighting and storage, cabinet panels on the refrigerator, a chalkboard door, butler’s pantry, mixed color cabinets, flat-screen TV, task lighting and wine refrigeration. Now you see why I mentioned budget.
Cornue Fé is a hot range for high-end kitchens. Less costly than the custom-made La Cornue it has gas power, electric side-opening ovens and traditional styling that French rangers crave. This one is handsomely bumped out and installed beneath a built in hood. The contribution of the fern motif on the hood is a mystery to me — that’s a teachable feature but not in a good way. More interesting is the unfitted eating bar set adjacent to the stove which can double as setting down space for the cook.
The support base of the eating bar is a stylish industrial-style French vintage piece with stools that coordinate. It also refers to the look of the island. Beyond, a small butler’s pantry includes open and closed storage plus a bar sink. A flat door that isn’t very attractive, but is smack in the middle of the sight line (many houses have one like this) was handily converted into a chalkboard.
Mixing cabinet finishes on the long kitchen wall breaks up the monolithic look some kitchens acquire and here it’s intelligently done. There is no shortage of equipment either – a speed oven and microwave supplement the double ovens of the Fé. The kitchen’s leitmotif, however, comes from the riveted, industrial style steel work table in the center with its double-tier chandy-shelf. Counters and backsplash are kept wisely low key and look very much like white blizzard of Caesarstone fame. Indulge me, please, while I drool.
(Source: Joann Hartley)
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