April 2, 2018
A homeowner in Bel-Air, Calif., was inspired by a style that matched her favorite pastime, gourmet cooking. Designer Steven Cooper of West Hollywood, Calif.-based Cooper Pacific Kitchens worked to incorporate this inspiration – French Art Deco – within a high-functioning kitchen design without making it look themed.
“Our client came to us with a clear direction that she wanted something different,” said designer. “This kitchen needed to have grace and elegance and reflect the home itself, and paying attention to material was paramount.”
A Layout for Every Generation
While cooking, the client often hosts large family gatherings and wanted the new design to accommodate guests of all ages. To do this, Cooper incorporated several prep areas for her to work in and for guests to linger.
“When considering multiple generations in a home, it is important to design in elements of accessibility and intuitive use,” said Cooper, who used AutoCAD for the team’s design and construction drawings.
There is seating along the island for both kids and adults, and there is an additional workspace at the sink with easy access to the refrigerator. A butler’s pantry, which is slightly removed from the main kitchen space, helps keep smaller guests out of the cook’s way; a beverage refrigerator here is designated for kids’ drinks. A seated area near the range also provides for an elderly relative or a child to assist the cook, as well as for the client in future years.
“As we age, simple things like additional seating and utilizing drawers rather than doors with internal rollouts makes the kitchen more functional and user friendly, since it creates a single motion at point of use,” said Cooper.
Touches of Period Design
As a nod toward the French Art Deco style, the team focused on materials and combined them with a modern color scheme. This idea is first established with a bold choice in flooring.
“The graphic nature of the black-and-white marble floor along with metal accents evokes the feeling of the time period but allows the kitchen to feel current without being too literal,” explained the designer.
The cabinets make the floors stand out with their soft gray color – a tone custom created to reflect the scheme in the rest of the home. These cabinets give this gourmet chef top-grade storage with maple and walnut interiors, custom drawer insets and corner turnout trays.
On the island, the team chose dark-stained oak cabinetry rather than black-painted wood to evoke the feeling of a period piece. Shagreen stamped leather, a historically opulent upholstery material, covers the modern island stools for a touch of the style.
“We wanted to continue elements of the French Art Deco feel by incorporating leather and brass and also giving the island some furniture structure with angled posts,” said Cooper. “Continuing the countertop shape around the flared posts and adding a brass belt where the countertop and cabinetry meet are the type of hand-made details we love about that era.”
The obvious choice for a gourmet chef in a French Art Deco kitchen is a La Cornue range. Done in black with brass fittings, this range was hand built for this specific client and boasts five burners and double ovens.
“It is purposely low tech and is a chef’s dream to work on,” said the designer. “The intuitive nature of interacting with food brings the joy of cooking to everything the client will make.”
The prepping surface is also luxurious; this natural quartzite countertop has high abrasion resistance, a low absorption rate and is minimally sensitive to acid. Illuminating these surfaces is lighting selected by the client, including a star-like chandelier over the dining table and contemporary pin box fixtures above the island.
“French Art Deco was all about luxurious materials, and we wanted this kitchen to reflect the importance of quality and beauty,” said Cooper.
Designer: Steven Cooper, Cooper Pacific Kitchens
Photographer: Meghan Bob Photography