“I like the simplicity of modernism, but prefer a bit more comfort,” says designer Fu-Tung Cheng of balancing modern with handcrafted. And so it is with this San Francisco kitchen. The cooktop area, a mix of sleek and warm, is a modern-day hearth that anchors the room. Ceramic tiles with a metallic glaze produce a backsplash with texture and depth. Recessed insets, each a tiny glass mosaic, interrupt the grid of the backsplash, adding a handmade feel. The hood, designed by Cheng, is a quarter-ellipse with a graceful style that many vent hoods lack. Ample counter space leaves room for prep work and appliances, while display shelves make space for the homeowner’s tea sets. Gaps in the bamboo storage drawers serve as pulls, adding visual relief that keeps the drawers from looking boxy. “Boxing things up in the kitchen is a mid-century ideal of sanitation,” says Cheng, preferring the unlikely examples of hoosier cabinets and country kitchens, whose casual openness he finds friendly.
To the left of the cooktop is a countertop of Geocrete, one of the concrete blends Cheng is known for. That pop of red is another warming element, and here Cheng’s love of craft (and sense of whimsy) are in full play. Embedded in the concrete is a tiny geode that appears to float across the counter like a sea creature or piece of flotsam. Its wake looks like painstakingly crafted inlay. But it’s not: It’s part of a valve body cover from an automatic transmission, a bit of modern-day jetsam.