May 28, 2013

Working with the tastes of a commercial contractor and an art collector, principle designer Nar Bustamente and designer Nicolette Patton of Nar Fine Cabinetry, Inc. took compromise to a new level.

“There was a lot of vibrancy to this job,” said Bustamente. “It was like working with artists.”

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The California kitchen’s awkward layout did little to echo its creative owners. Previously long and narrow, the kitchen was divided by a bearing wall − right where an island would be ideal. “No one had come up with anything good to fix that yet,” said Bustamente. “They picked me because I was the first person to remove the bearing wall completely and put in an island.”

To remove the bearing wall, Bustamente built two temporary walls on either side and a metal beam to go in its place. A refrigerator replaced a doorway and a transitional hallway became the island. “We had to open up that whole space in order to communicate that room,” said Bustamente. “Their vision was a lot of texture and materials and lightness, but they didn’t want to just fill it up with stuff. That’s where the openness came about.”

A collector of art and trinkets, the wife wanted to display her finds with a high-end design. “They wanted the kitchen to represent their funkiness,” said Bustamente. “The husband also wanted a certain level of industrial design, but they both didn’t want it to get cold.”

To bring in the industrial feel, a 200-lb. steel hood was installed above a staggered welded steel island, topped with polished concrete countertops on the lower end and Verona wood on the higher.

“He’s quite a tall guy and likes to stand and drink his coffee,” said Bustamente. To accommodate him, a post was installed in the island with a concrete top to fit into the lower section. “It’s a great transitional piece,” added Bustamente.

For the wife’s colorful tastes, the bright tangerine walls were bedecked with floating shelves and cubbies for holding art. “The cubbies aren’t even screwed in so she has the ability to change the artwork,” said Bustamente. Dark oak cabinets bring in additional texture but still resemble the steel backing on the island.

“I don’t like everything to look all the same,” said Bustamente. Blue-hued LED lights illuminate the underside of the island, coinciding with the purple LED lights over the bar area. Held an inch off the wall, the floating shelves allow for the light to wash the wall in color. “It’s a play on herself,” explained Bustamente. “Everything communicates in a very funky way but is also classy and high end.”

At the far end of the kitchen, a previously enclosed office was opened up and connected to the kitchen’s character with a large five-pointed star. “When you drive through the neighborhood, you can see that star through the window,” said Bustamente. “That star is the talk of the town.”

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