Sometimes we just pinch ourselves. To reach the end of this project and have it come out even more beautifully than we had imagined feels like a total miracle. Every step along the way was a push and pull with all of the various builders and designers, constantly holding our ground to stick with our vision, which was often more complicated and certainly very different from what most of them had ever done before.
In the end we went custom for almost every component. While we certainly did not set out to do that, once we started (with the cabinetry) we found it really hard to stop...goodbye budget! We were apprehensive that there were too many elements - three types of wood, copper, marble, concrete and tile. But they all seem to work together because they share a warm, natural tone. That earthy quality feels imbued in almost every element. While it is a brand new, "fancy" kitchen, it does not feel that way. Here are some of the pieces broken down:
(Note I took all of these photos at night, I will replace them when I am able to get better ones. For now just imagine all of the beautiful greenery of our hillside and trees outside!)
The Range - Bluestar
I fell in love with these ranges as soon as we started shopping around. They have got some crazy high BTUs (22,000 to be exact) and open burners. I cook hot and I cook messy, and with the open burners I don't have to wipe down the stove top after each meal - it doesn't mean it isn't splattered with oil, but at least I can't see it! It's 48" and I use the charbroil top on two of the burners, which I have been getting good use out of - so far grilled toast, kale and tomahawk steaks have all graced it's grates.
The Marble - Calcutta Oro
We generally err on the Bolder is Better frame of mind. That certainly informed our decision to use a huge slab of marble as our backsplash. To us it looks like a mountain range, but also mimics the branches of the apple tree which grows just behind it.
The Hood - Copper, made by Kevin at Marin Custom Metalworks
This hood is based on an inspiration photo we found somewhere along the way. I cannot believe the amount of time and effort and back and forth that went in to making this thing. But damn it was worth it.
The Sink - Concrete, made by [Re] Union Creative
We really, really didn't want our sink to be too small. Maybe we overcompensated? This babe comes in at a whopping 48"! We matched the tone to the ceramic floor tiles and the guys at [Re] Union Creative did an amazing job of this concrete. It is alive, variable, handmade and lovely. We continued the concrete for the countertops of that entire wall, to eliminate any worry of water damage. The countertops on the other wall are raw cypress.
The Cabinetry - Sycamore, made by Cemil Hope of Hope Built
All wood from Evan Shively of Arborica in Marshall
The cabinetry was the driving design element of the entire kitchen. We were obsessively inspired by Garde Havalsoe, a Scandinavian group (who also designed Rene Redezpi's kitchen) and could see nothing beyond those images. Cemil worked tirelessly with us to get as close as possible within our constraints (budget, time) and the finished product totally stands up to the inspiration.
For wood we visited Evan Shively in Marshall. He is the wood sensei. What seemed overwhelming at first became totally clear once he pointed us to a sycamore slab (which would become our cantilevered peninsula) that took our breath away. We doubled down and used sycamore for all of the cabinet faces, using single boards for each run to give that continuous impression. In an instance of happy accidents, we had no idea that sycamore was this variable, and were totally blown away during install. I'm actually glad we didn't know ahead of time because we may have shied away from it, which would have been a huge loss. As far as I'm concerned, the cabinetry is an absolute work of art and somewhat of an engineering feat in places (one of those panels near the sink is the dishwasher!) and Cemil is a mastermind.
Ceiling Beams - Reclaimed douglas fir from Evan Shively
One of the biggest physical transformations of the space - besides taking down a wall - was bumping up the ceiling. Going from 8' to almost 12' in the corner has made this an epic room. We were worried it would feel too harsh, and Craig O'Connell, our wonderful architect, friend and neighbor, dreamed up this wooden beam solution. He spaced the beams just right and it made the room come alive. The doug fir comes from huge piers that were once buried in the bay and recently dug up during the excavation for the TransBay Terminal.
Putting this baby to work! If this kitchen doesn't inspire some new dishes I don't know what will. Time to get the juices flowing. Stay tuned.