January 4, 2018
A kitchen is like clothing: get it in the wrong size, and its function and aesthetic appeal will not suit the wearer. For tall homeowners with a love for entertaining and baking, an enclosed, outdated kitchen with low countertops is just like those jeans that shrunk in the wash.
“These clients needed everything to be at a comfortable height for them,” said designer Nar Bustamente of Sacramento, Calif.-based Nar Design Group.
Finding the Right Height
This tall family approached the firm looking for a design that modernized the look and function of their space. Before the redesign, the kitchen had a small central island and a peninsula dividing the kitchen from the breakfast nook. The cabinets, appliances and countertops were tired and hard to clean, and the fluorescent lights overhead did not add any beauty to the space.
“Not only was there a wall with an arch separating the kitchen from the living area, but the family room was 14 inches lower than the level of the kitchen,” explained Bustamente. “The different levels made the spaces feel like two different worlds.”
Using Chief Architect for planning, the team raised the sunken living room to the level of the kitchen and unified the spaces with a consistent large plank, porcelain tile floor. The rest of the kitchen was gutted, including the divisive peninsula and the hanging cabinetry above it.
Bustamente then grouped all tall items together to create a multifunctional wall of storage and appliances the clients could use without leaning over. These components include two pantries with rollout drawers, refrigerator and freezer columns on one side of the wall and a grouping of ovens on the other.
“The wife greatly enjoys baking so a steam oven, convection oven and warming drawer were all given a place in this kitchen,” added the designer, explaining that these items were placed at a height that is comfortable for the homeowners.
These clients also requested a 39-in. countertop height for the new island in the center of the kitchen. The island was designed with large drawers on the side closest to the sink for immediate access and storage of dishes and bowls. The other side of the island has shallow cabinetry and acts as an extended pantry.
Infusion of Glamour
Instead of the dated, dark wood cabinets the kitchen had before, Bustamente updated the space with white flush inset cabinetry and two contrasting blue-gray cabinets by the hood. This sets up the kitchen for the classic look the homeowners wanted. Facing the living area, one end of the island is also accented with a dark blue-gray cabinet wrapped in butcher block.
“This area provides a beautiful space to stage appetizers during hosted gatherings,” said Bustamente.
Carrera marble countertops give the space a luxurious and yet timeless aesthetic. Large marble tiles were custom cut into 13-in. triangles to create a large format, patterned backsplash. This soft palette is contrasted by rich gold, gilded elements like the aged brass cabinet hardware and particularly the gold-faceted hood.
“This custom hood structure acts as a main focal point for the space,” he said, adding that inside is a hood liner that provides venting for the six-burner range below. “The facetted gold gloss provides shimmer and drama.”
The designer also used lighting throughout the kitchen to lend the room modernity and elegance. Over the island, a large and dynamic faceted glass and steel chandelier complements the gold hood’s drama. Inner cabinet lighting makes the interior of the cabinetry sparkle, and overhead flush mount ceiling LEDs illuminate all of the workstations.
“Task, general and decorative LED lighting throughout the space provides a balance of lighting, whether preparing a meal or relaxing at the bistro table with a glass of wine,” said Bustamente. “Lighting in all of our designs is about layering to build drama and mood.”
Designer: Nar Bustamente of Nar Design Group
Photo Gallery: Fred Donham of PhotographerLink
Faucets: Newport Brass
Hardware: Top Knobs
Lighting: Restoration Hardware
Sink: The Galley