May 16, 2019
A single gentleman who had recently moved into a cookie-cutter retirement community wanted a home that reflected his masculine taste and love of entertaining. He is also a huge Harley Davidson fan and wanted that theme artfully displayed in his new kitchen. The homeowner specifically sought out Nar Bustamante of Sacramento, Calif.-based Nar Design Group because he had seen photos of a Prince-themed kitchen he had done and knew he was the designer for the job.
“Part of an extensive home remodel, this kitchen design was born of one man’s love of all things Harley Davidson, and he wanted it to be classy – not cheesy,” said Bustamante. “Color inspiration came from the client’s own cherished bike, which is a stunning combination of matte black and brushed steel.”
Although the previous builder-grade kitchen was a good size, it was oddly U-shaped with two angled peninsulas and a small island that divided the dysfunctional space. Besides encapsulating the biker theme, the client also wanted a large kitchen in which to entertain that was easy to clean and had a lot of attitude.
Fulfilling the Requests
To check off everything on the client’s wish list, Bustamante and his team moved around walls, eliminated the peninsulas and reconfigured the space, borrowing from closets and some hallways. The designer used Chief Architect to draw up the final plans, although 90 percent of his projects start with a pen and pencil.
In the new layout, the low-maintenance, easy-to-access, flat-panel storage is concentrated along one main wall and within large drawers in the front of the massive island, around which guests can gather for drinks, watch TV or mingle with the homeowner and other guests. A cypress soffit that stores the hood above the island was designed to define where the kitchen starts and ends. To continue this unified feeling, Bustamante painted the ceiling and opposite wall black.
“A change of grain direction in the cypress provides visual interest,” said the designer, who chose the wood for its tone to warm up the dark ceiling.
The working side of the island houses and a 5-ft. Galley Workstation, a dishwasher and induction cooktop, and the other side includes a wine refrigerator and some nice bottles of liquor on display so guests can help themselves to drinks while seated there. Storage solutions along the main wall include dual pullout pantries, wide drawers and tilt-up wall cabinets in textured cypress with matte-black, auto-open, glass doors.
Working the Harley Theme
The kitchen’s matte-black and orange color scheme is indicative of the brand, as is the gunmetal finish on the sink and faucet. A glass bookcase with steel details and a lighted orange interior at one end of the island displays a biker jacket, helmet and gloves. When the lights are off in the display case, the two-way glass acts as a mirror.
Above the dining area, a local automobile detail shop created a chandelier made from three reclaimed motorcycle helmets they painted the trademark Harley Davidson orange. The helmet interiors feature a metallic silver for extra detail and are wired for a bulb.
Modern Spa Master
While bold colors and masculine details permeate the kitchen, the client wanted his bathroom to be a female-friendly, serene and sophisticated space.
“He wanted something light and inviting like a spa, so we created an open, airy master retreat by removing a corner water closet and an awkwardly deep linen closet,” said Bustamante.
A pair of pullout cabinets on each side of the floating cypress vanity conceals grooming stations for him and her, and taller units store linens and other supplies. The extra-wide sink with two faucets can accommodate a couple both using the bathroom.
The use of custom glass panels instead of actual walls to surround the barrier-free shower and frosted glass around the toilet area allowed both to gain space and transfer light around the room. All the doors in the master bath are wide with a full swing so it is easy to access all the spaces.
The flooring is a large-format porcelain that is easy to clean, and the custom backlit mirror creates a cool glow that serves as a subtle nightlight the homeowner can see from his bedroom.
“We reduced the original closet opening, gaining wall space for a modern freestanding tub,” added Bustamante. “The faucets and hand-held shower feature a knurled detail that lends a bit of biker industrial to the modern surroundings.”
Lessons Learned & Hurdles Cleared
According to the designer, all his projects are a learning experience, and he tries to do something different each time. In this case, the major use of black in the kitchen was somewhat of a rule breaker.
“During construction, all the black surfaces seemed so dusty, so in the future I would protect those better so as not to panic,” said Bustamante.
Although he was working with a blank slate, he said removing multiple walls was a challenge. The property is on a slab, so a jackhammer was needed to get the shower in place in the master bath. A lot of the walls removed were structural, but the designer said the homeowner was more than happy to invest in whatever it took to make his dream home come to life.
“During the project, the construction noise was not welcome in the retirement community,” said Bustamante, “but now when he comes home late at night, his neighbors appreciate a rev of his engine to let them know he is home safe. He is a ‘rebel’ they have come to adore.”
Designer: Nar Design Group
Builder: Bradley Builders
Photographer: Fred Donham of PhotographerLink
Backsplash, Cabinets, Island Front & Walls: Crystal Cabinetry
Countertop: Dekton Sirius
Recessed Lighting: Halo
Sinks: Galley IW5
Cabinets: Crystal Cabinetry
Flooring & Shower Tile: Porcelanosa
Shower Fixtures & Tub Filler: Brizo