A Modern Kitchen With an Old World Look
Annexing square footage from two small rooms and incorporating salvaged and distressed wood create a high-functioning kitchen that suits its vintage surroundings
Just because a kitchen is new doesn't mean it has to look that way. During the four-year run-up to their redo, Jennifer and Barnet Malin lusted for furnishings weathered by time—or by design. Picturing colorful tilework and honey-colored woods that would be compatible with their 1940s Spanish Revival house in Santa Monica, California, they turned to architect Deborah Teltscher.
They asked her to carve out space for a baker, a barbecue fanatic, and two junior apprentices—and to work in a pair of carved wood columns from Guatemala they'd spotted in an antiques store. Teltscher and contractor Ron Haslam annexed space from two adjacent rooms to expand the kitchen to a 14-by-14-foot square—"large enough, but still cozy," as Teltscher puts it—with an island big enough to do homework at one end and frost a cake at the other. Distressed alder cabinets with pitted bronze pulls, reclaimed chestnut flooring, and hand-glazed tile contribute to the rustic look. As for those columns, Teltscher used them to frame the opening between the kitchen and a new family room/dining area. "The house was inspired by Spanish missions," says Jennifer. "And now you could say our kitchen was, too."
An island topped with iroko, a West African hardwood, offers a sight line to the light-filled dining area and a patio beyond it.
Homeowner Tip: "Before building an island, be sure to measure all your clearances to ensure that you can get into the fridge without bumping into a barstool." —Barnet Malin
Hand-glazed tiles brighten the room's warm wood tones and echo the home's Spanish Revival–style roots.
The 160-square-foot kitchen had a work area just 8 feet wide, with a small table isolated at one end and no central prep or gathering spot.
Better laid out (and equipped) in a 14-foot square, the kitchen is anchored by an island with a prep sink and stools.
1. Opened up the kitchen to a new family room/dining area via a wide passageway framed by salvaged wood columns.
2. Put in an island 3 feet wide and 7½ feet long where kids and guests can hang out—or wash salad greens at the prep sink.
3. Added a second oven, a microwave, and freezer drawers across from the range/fridge wall—no more traffic jams during marathon meal prep.
4. Installed a double-hung with a swing-in screen to serve as a pass-through for the outdoor barbecuer and his kitchen staff.
5. Added more counter space within easy reach of the main sink and range.