By Ramona d'Viola
Whether it's a birthday, holiday celebration, or a Warriors win — one of the homeowners is the daughter of a well-known Warriors announcer — it doesn't take much for this Bay Area family to throw a party. After decades of squeezing the large clan into a tiny galley, the family decided to go big with a massive kitchen makeover.
Fun loving and down to earth, the homeowners wanted their new kitchen to reflect their personalities and lifestyle. They wanted a kitchen that would accommodate frequent gatherings of family and friends and offer the modern amenities that were sorely lacking in their previous kitchen.
"We wanted to create an efficient and expansive 'great room of a kitchen,' with lots of natural light," said builder and designer Kari Grosz of Lamorinda Construction. "By reclaiming some of the adjacent patio space, we enlarged the kitchen's footprint by 200 square feet, then brought the outdoors back inside."
If space is the place, you've arrived. Vaulted ceilings, generous marble countertops, and enviable cabinet space are hallmarks of the new kitchen, awash in sunlight. It practically invites you in by name.
Grosz's team of designer builders worked with the client's vision and budget to transform the outdated, cramped, and inefficient kitchen into an intuitive room divided into functional areas that include a well-stocked bar complete with wine refrigerator.
Did we mention the parties?
A successful wedding of traditional materials to simple fixtures and finishes, combined with modern lighting and state-of-the-art appliances, brought this dated kitchen squarely into the 21st century.
And if the kitchen is the heart of the home, the kitchen island is where it beats loudest. The re-imagined kitchen's spacious marble-topped island accommodates the cook (or cooks) with yards of counter space, a prep sink, and plenty of opportunities for helping hands (or kibitzers) to assist. Pull up a swivel stool for morning coffee or evening homework, and you can practically feel the pulse of this plenteous kitchen island.
Along the kitchen's perimeter, wall space not employed by an appliance or a portal has been appropriated by expanses of Shaker-style cabinetry, painted a low-luster bright white.
A lighted hutch showcases the family's beautiful dinnerware, while glass-fronted cabinets break the expanse of their solid-fronted counterparts, revealing pops of color from exposed dishware and curated objets d'art. Exquisitely crafted, the bright white cabinets reflect and amplify the kitchen's abundant natural sunlight, giving it a warm, friendly, and welcoming vibe.
Refined yet simple finishes, like brushed metal handles and drawer pulls, complement the stainless-steel appliances and chromed plumbing fixtures without stealing the show.
A handmade painted tile backsplash creates a subtle focal point behind the range and cleverly interrupts an expanse of white subway tile. Arranged in a framed herringbone pattern, the whimsical tile pays homage to the Old World.
A newly acquired dining area was created by extending and redoing the kitchen's back wall. Now dominated by a family-sized dining table — big enough to seat eight or 10 if you're family. When the kitchen reaches capacity (and that's often), custom-double French doors open directly to a well-appointed outdoor patio, designed to accommodate the overflow for the frequent standing-room-only celebrations.
And like many Bay Area residents mourning the Warriors' loss to the Raptors, we'd understand if the next party were more of an Irish wake. But congratulations on a beautiful kitchen (and to our beloved Dubs, better luck next year).