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San Diego by Design

Warming with Wood


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The bold, full-metal kitchens popularized by European designers over the past decade are gaining acceptance with American consumers, who’ve modified the effect by adding warmth to the overall look. Stainless steel appliances are still the rage, but gone are the surrounding metal cabinet facings and countertops—replaced by exotic wood veneers on cabinetry and in flooring, with marble, slate and granite counters and backsplashes.

Earth tones on walls add a more homey touch, while keeping the spirit of a modern minimalist kitchen. The latest international warming trend is re-creating much the same look pioneered by San Diego’s 1950s modernism architects and designers, including the late Sim Bruce Richards. Wood was essential in Richards’ organic-style, post-and-beam construction, which, of course, included the kitchen.

The San Diego kitchens shown on these pages are prime examples of the new wave.
  Bulthaup is a leading supporter of the minimalist, all-stainless-steel look, but even this German kitchen maker is warming its wares with tall bamboo cabinets (with a handle-free touch system). Bulthaup kitchens are available exclusively at Kitchen Architecture in the Morena District.
Photograph: Hiepler-Brunier/Bulthaup
a kitchen with wood accents  Lew and Marnie Klein of Golden Hill worked with downtown architect Jennifer Luce to mix and match wood cabinets and a zinc countertop, creating a high-tech kitchen around an existing stainless-steel Dacor range, GE Monogram refrigerator and Bosch dishwasher. Cabinets and table design are by Luce. Green resin tabletop is by 3Form. Stools are from an industrial supply outlet. The flooring is The flooring is inexpensive sublevel plywood treated with polyurethane.
Photograph: Carol Peerce
 a ktichen with wood accents Bamboo flooring and wall colors of terra cotta brighten and warm this all-Viking- appliance kitchen remodel by Laura Birns Design, Del Mar, for Encinitas residents Candice and Bob Fagan. Table, chairs and bench by designer. Textile upholstery is by Donghia and Brentano.
Photograph: Chris O’Meally
 a kitchen designed with wood accents This total kitchen makeover by La Jolla’s Kitchen Expo for Del Mar homeowner Craig Grosvenor covers steel appliances with custom maple facing that includes an antique yellow glaze to match the cabinetry. A section of celadon granite countertop on the lower island rises to reveal a swivel plasma-screen TV. Backsplash art and lighting are also from Kitchen Expo. The flooring is Brazilian cherry.
Photograph: Carol Peerce
 a kitchen designed with wood accents Ron Pavlu of European Kitchen Designs in Sorrento Valley chose Kahrs natural cherry flooring (available through Pro Source) and a bold palette on the walls to add drama to a kitchen featuring stainless-steel appliances from Pacific Sales. The Qualls family, of Tierrasanta, selected honed Italian slate and black granite from Tutto Marmo, San Diego, for countertops. The stools are from Lawrance Contemporary Home Furnishings; white matte lacquer cabinets by Artcraft; tile backsplash by European Tile Art in Sorrento Valley.
Photograph: Carol Peerce
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