As you may have just read from my previous post, we were tasked with designing and executing the 2018 Pasadena Showcase House kitchen in 7 weeks, with only 4 of the 7 weeks spent on construction. Well, we did it – we made it happen and had a very positive reaction by all that visited. How did we make it happen? It was not just vision and being able to put our ideas on paper, but as I always say, it takes a village. So now not only would I like to give you the full reveal of the project, but I’d like to call out all our vendors who played a major role in making the vision come to fruition.
The 2018 Pasadena Showcase House Kitchen
The Village that Made our Showcase House Kitchen a Reality
When we were asked to do the Showcase house kitchen, (at that point we were also already doing the teen bedroom and bath) we already had an appliance and plumbing sponsor on board, as the previous designer, who had a change of heart and backed out of the project in early March, had already started working with Ferguson Showrooms, and all appliances and plumbing had already been ordered. No problem, I’m flexible. I was handed a print out of the appliances and plumbing that was ordered and I was on my way to designing. Little did I know that this partnership with Ferguson, that was facilitated through their relationship with the previous designer, would be a match made in heaven.
The partnership with Ferguson resulted in “top of the line” everything. Sub-Zero Wolf appliances in the kitchen included a built-in French Door refrigerator, E-Series Transitional Steam Oven, 48” stainless steel 4-burner gas range, and a beverage center with in-wall 24” coffee system, and in-wall 24” microwave drawer. The large-scale kitchen also accommodated 2 dishwashers by Asko and one main sink and an additional (but also rather large) secondary sink by Franke. Plumbing was by Newport Brass and consisted of unlacquered brass, appropriate for the age and eclectic style of the home. For more info on the appliances used, see Ferguson’s press release
The range and accompanying backsplash saved us when nothing else in the kitchen was completed during Media Week. This is what the rest of the kitchen looked like the day that the media came through. I knew that to woo all the press coming through, we would have to whet their appetites with something spectacular, and the backsplash and hood was nothing short of that. The hood was the work of Modern-Aire Ventilating, a company that does one thing (range hoods) and does it BEYOND just “well”. In fact, I gave them my sketches along with specs and they created this masterpiece of a hood to my exact specifications, including a two-tone brass finish, with the bottom canopy out of an unlacquered naval brass and the two adjoining sections out of a brushed naval brass. As for the backsplash? It is Kelly Wearstler’s Liaison Mulholland Large mosaic marble tile in verde blend, available through Ann Sacks Tile.
To complement the brass plumbing fixtures, I decided to go to Buster + Punch, whose hardware I have been admiring from afar for the past couple of years. The stars happened to be on my side, as I happened to run into David Schlocker of DRS and Associates, Buster + Punch’s PR firm here in the US on a few occasions (and in at least two different cities) as I was orchestrating the kitchen. It is as though someone upstairs was telling me I had to incorporate Buster + Punch into my design. A few emails, a couple of phone calls, and they were on board and the outcome was spectacular. The industrial diamond-cut knurling and the “meatiness” of the handle gave the kitchen just enough of a modern edge. I was impressed that every possible demographic (millennial/ baby boomer, male/female) was drawn to the hardware. It’s just one of those rare things that appeal to everyone.
For the floors, we opted for a warm, mid-tone, anti-bacterial and water-resistant oak parquet made in Italy by Menea Group. One of the reasons why we settled on the pattern that we ultimately ended up with, is that the kitchen, built in 1915 has several 45-degree angles.
The “X” Motif in the wood creates an illusion so that when there is an angle change, the pattern continues to flow and doesn’t look cut off, which would have been the case had wood planks been used. Under the banquette and breakfast table we utilized a wood and tencel rug from Stark Carpet, which also offers a nice visual break in addition to a soft surface for those sitting in the breakfast area.
Up above the breakfast area we popped up the ceiling 23″ rather than raising the entire area. Raising the celing this small area kept the space feeling light and not so boxed in while maintaining a cozy, more intimate environment. I called upon Tracy Hiner of Black Crow Studios to create the continuous wallpaper and give it an ethereal feel with her Soft Watercolor collection. Tracy is so easy to work with – I gave her the measurements of the 5 walls I was working with and she created 5 different layouts from which I had to choose. No surprise that every person who came and visited thought it was actually painted on, as there wasn’t a seam in sight!
The black iron doors and windows in the room were done with a very fast turn around by Robert’s Iron Works. In fact, the window above the main sink had to be replaced the day AFTER opening day and we had to scramble to get things put back together in time for the house to open at 10AM on Tuesday. The paint on the trim was not even dry when the doors opened up for the day!
Fortunately, I was able to get to know the homeowner well, and she has a spectacular collection of vintage furniture, so I raided her belongings and convinced her to let me reupholster some of her upholstered pieces. Who did I turn to but Moore & Giles, as they have some of the most sumptuous leathers on the market and in an unbelievable array of colors. As I discovered, emerald or malachite green is not an easy color to find in any fabric or leather, but of course Moore & Giles had it!
Countertops. This is a big kitchen, which means lots of countertops. A center island with a unique shape because of the configuration of the room (lots of pesky angles) I called Patty over at Arizona Tile and took a field trip to their stone yard, as the homeowner had requested natural stone for the countertops, and seeing the slabs in person is important to be able to see the color, veining, and other unique characteristics you can’t always see in pictures.
For the island we used Calacatta Colorado, as it has a more prominent veining with a little bit of warmth, that blended well with the walnut cabinetry and oak floor. Also, with the majority of movement on one end of the slab, I knew that we would be able to position the busy part of the slab on the waterfall portion and on the countertop surface the veining would be a little bit quieter. We positioned a seam at the center of the prep sink and it was done so well that every other person that walked through asked how we were able to find a slab that large (the island is 13’+ long!) We didn’t – we seamed it, but with a beautiful book match, to give it a continuous pattern.
The edge detail was something else. It wasn’t easy to show in plan or an elevation, so I had model it out in 3D and show the fabricator from every which angle so that he understood exactly what I wanted. It’s hard to tell in the picture below, but it’s a compound miter, where there are two angles (think of a picture frame). A small little detail that makes a huge difference.
For the perimeter cabinetry, I opted for a quieter, more subtle stone with minimal veining – Salt White Marble. It was the perfect choice to blend in with the other finishes in the room and allowed both the island and the feature wall to take center stage. The feature wall consisted of unlacquered brass (someone’s going to be employing a small army to polish all the unlacquered brass in this house!) and glass bistro shelves and two book-matched slabs of Statuario marble from Sorccia Stone. For those of you not familiar with Sorccia Stone, they use new technology that slices real stone to as thin as 3mm before adhering it to a lightweight backing. This results in a beautiful product that is a fraction of the weight of regular stone and is easier to handle, as it can be cut on site with a diamond blade. Furthermore, because it is so thin, it is the perfect material to have back lit for added drama.
Because of the short timeline and all the construction involved, I was split in several directions and didn’t even think of the breakfast table until I really had to. We needed an oval shape and something glamorous, to tie in with our other finishes, but at the same time but we also needed it to have the ability to stand up to 3 kids. So, we had to get creative here. I’ve been eyeing one of Compac’s newest introductions, Ice of Genesis quartz slab since I saw it at KBIS last year so I decided that it was the perfect balance of form and function. My thought was to attach the fabricated slab onto a tulip base, to make getting in and out of the banquette easier. Of course there wasn’t a tulip base that was going to look right unless it was brass, so I did the unthinkable – I went online and bought an inexpensive tulip table. Once it arrived, I sent out the base out to have it plated in a polished, unlacquered brass, and I used the laminate top as a template for the Ice of Genesis slab from Compac. What did we end up with? An ultra-glam and dramatic table that looks high maintenance, but is anything but. Brilliant, right?
Above every table is the necessity of lighting. The newly opened space above warranted a spectacular light fixture. We needed the light fixture to occupy volume without taking up visual space and obstructing the view to the outdoors, which became important with the addition of a new wall of windows and doors. Not a problem – we called upon Hammerton Studio for their Rock Crystal Chandelier which occupies the space without feeling heavy, and more importantly, does not obstruct the view. For the island we used their Gem LED pendants, which appear like floating ice cubes… a big hit at Showcase.
The cabinetry was initially, the biggest obstacle in being able to finish the kitchen in a short time frame. Fortunately, we partnered with the best in the business, Spanish Galleon, and in doing so, we were able to deliver a kitchen that exceeded even our own expectations. The attention to detail, the flawless conversion varnish finish (which many thought was metal) and the custom brass hardware are some of the things that did not go unnoticed.
For electrical outlets, switches, and undercabinet lighting I went to my tried and true, adorne by Legrand. I have long been an adorne fan and use their products in all my projects, as they improve both the look and function. The extra cost is minimal when you take into consideration how they really button up the space. They are the perfect finishing touch and to me, no room is complete without addressing the first thing you approach when you walk into a space – the light switch! Aesthetically, they allow me to customize the look for the space with the variety of wall plate finishes they have available – 32 finishes and when you take into consideration their customizable plates, the possibilities truly are endless! The functionality of their products is out of this world.
The Pop-Out outlet in magnesium with a Brushed Brass wallplate made an appearance on the center island in a couple of places. When not in use, it can be popped back into place and the outlets are not visible.
I used the newest deQuorum™ Flip Up Table Box to provide power to either side of the range without having to compromise the look of the marble mosaic backsplash.
As in every space I design, art, one of a kind items, and vintage played an integral part in the kitchen and butler’s pantry and provided that final layer to bring personality and soul to the space.
MaryLinda Moss of Source Art assisted in selecting the right paintings for the space (Raul de la Torre mixed media, above and vintage bust that we have affectionately named “Augustus Radovich”) while local artist Leslie D Plunkett provided the unusual porcelain pieces that we had displayed throughout. Several other vintage items were purchased on the fly the week before opening day from some of my favorite antique dealers at High Point Market and were expedited back to Pasadena just in the nick of time.
Technology in the 2018 Pasadena Showcase House Kitchen
Everyone always loves a little bit of technology, especially in a showcase house kitchen. Afterall, isn’t that why people attend show houses afterall- to see the newest products on the market and how to integrate them into the home? We used the Sony Life Space US Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector and projected recipes onto the only fully exposed wall in the room, which also happened to be perfectly situated. The “oohs” and “aahs” that came out of people’s mouths as they walked by. Projecting recipes is only one of MANY ways you can use this handy projector. See how we used it in the 2017 Pasadena Showcase House guest bedroom!
On the other end of the kitchen, we placed a TV on the wall…well kind of. I am not a fan of TVs as I don’t like the way the black screen disrupts the aesthetic a room when it is turned off. To solve that problem, we turned to our friends at Woody’s Home. They assisted us in acquiring, installing, and setting up the Samsung Frame TV. When turned off, it looks like a work of art hanging on the wall (the art is interchangeable and you can also upload your own). Pictured below, we opted to display a before shot of the kitchen along with my hand renderingand we were able to control the screen and uploaded art from our smart phone. When you need TV, it’s there but when you don’t it masquerades as art on the wall. Another brilliant invention!
The Adjoining Butler’s Pantry
Art was also hung in the butler’s pantry (Raul de la Torre via Source Art in the background and Martin Sumers, d. 2012 from our own collection in the foreground), with wallpaper from Nina Campbell for Osborne & Little as the backdrop. The deep emerald green was the perfect choice for a small room with lots of drama and also the perfect segué into the color palette in the kitchen. The two rooms are definitely related, which they should be.
Yes, these are brass waterfall edge countertops on either side of the entrance into the kitchen. Steve of Metalcoat Technology recently developed a new technology which allows him to spray a living finish (in this case brass) onto a hard surface, creating the look of solid metal. With this particular countertop, he had to make a silicone mold to take on the shagreen texture needed. When the undercabinet light is turned on it you really see the texture shine. When we first met, he told me “If you can dream it in metal, I can make it” He wasn’t kidding! I dream a lot so there is no doubt we’ll be creating more things together in the future.
So there you have it – the 2018 Pasadena Showcase House kitchen and butler’s pantry! Orchestrating a showcase house kitchen is never easy, and seven weeks from the start of design to completion is almost unheard of. A heartfelt thank you to all our trusted vendors, both new and old. We couldn’t have it done it without you and you deserve just as much of the kudos as we do!
The 2018 Pasadena Showcase House Kitchen Transformation
Also, I’d like to share this great video of our kitchen transformation produced by Mark Hovater. As stressful as it was at times, the great crew and support we had made it fun experience!
Stay tuned – we have more on the 2018 Pasadena Showcase House coming up in our next post.