A Kitchen Fit for Dinner-Party Prep
Frequent hosts annexed adjacent nooks to add a second prep and cleanup area
To accomodate prepping for the owners' frequent dinner parties, designer Beth Laughlin expanded this 1928 San Francisco kitchen by taking down a wall that divided the space from an adjacent breakfast nook at one end, and removing a sliver of wall with a doorway to the laundry area at the other. Now one continuous galley, the enlarged kitchen has a peninsula with two stools where friends can hang out while the hosts are at the stove. There are two distinct prep-and-cleanup zones: one along the original sink wall and another in a butler's pantry alcove (where the washer and dryer had stood), complete with double ovens and the all-important second sink.
The bare-bones space narrowed at one end with a doorway to the laundry area.
Soft-green granite covers five times more counter space than the kitchen had before, and a mix of flat-panel and beadboard-front cabinets—including a built-in hutch with vintage-style crystal knobs—triples the storage. Newly milled baseboard rings new oak flooring, both made to match originals in the rest of the rooms. The result: a gourmet kitchen that blends beautifully with its period surroundings.
Touches of beadboard on the Brookhaven cabinets, custom range hood, and interior of the built-in hutch—mixed in with flat-panel door and drawer fronts—give the cabinetry personality and old-fashioned charm.
A cluster of appliances, including the paneled, 48-inch KitchenAid refrigerator and Dacor wall ovens, flanks the secondary sink from Rohl near the old laundry area, where a butler's pantry alcove serves as a second prep-and-cleanup zone. Old-fashioned ring pulls and cabinet knobs complement the classic style of the cabinets.
New arched doorways in the kitchen looked so authentic that the couple added more in the apartment's other rooms. The curves are repeated in the fanlight over the sink, the edge of the custom exhaust hood, and in tiled niches on either side of the cooktop. The adjustable-cord pendant light is a new interpretation of an early-20th-century shop task lamp.
White subway tile covers the backsplash. It's interspersed with green-and-pink flower tiles, which the wife chose to suit the traditional style of the home and her husband's love of gardening.
Granite countertops made of sage-green Costa Smeralda are veined like marble—which would have been the period-appropriate choice—but are far more stain-resistant. Arched tiled niches flanking the cooktop hold accent pieces and cooking oils.
The original kitchen was walled off from the breakfast nook and the laundry area.
1. Demolished Interior Walls. Taking over the breakfast nook added 80 square feet of space to the kitchen. Removing a wall with a doorway gave back the laundry alcove.
2. Took Out a Chimney. Originally next to the laundry area, it was removed to make way for the second prep-and-cleanup zone. The contractor was able to remove the nonworking clay flue and seal it off at the bottom, since the apartment occupies the building's top floor.
3. Rearranged Large Appliances. The fridge and wall ovens were placed on either side of the secondary sink. The new six-burner cooktop and dishwasher sit to the left of the main sink, which wasn't relocated.
4. Revised the Windows. To make up for the loss of a large window in the eating area (needed to make room for the range hood and more cabinets),
the sink window was enlarged by a foot along the sides and at the top with the addition of a fanlight.
5. Added Prep and Storage Areas. The new kitchen is ringed with countertops for fixing meals and upper and lower cabinets to hold cookware.