The design of the compact 200 square foot kitchen anchors the open living space of this home in Sonoma, CA with a dramatic tempered glass backsplash in vibrant colors drawn from the surrounding vineyard landscape. Beneath the clear glass is a single billboard size image of local Sonoma grasses taken by one of the architect’s designers. Up close the image appears a colorful, but abstract, blur of blues and greens but as one moves further away the image comes into clearer focus as a piece of artwork and literal extension of the landscape beyond. The backsplash and adjacent windows create one continuous panorama of green from outside to inside.
Because the kitchen is such an integrated part of the public space of the 1,900 square foot home, storage has been designed to ensure that nothing need be left on the Soapstone counters. The coffee machine and toaster –both appliances that are loaded from above– sit under counter on a roll out shelf for easy operation. Similarly, the microwave is tucked away as an appliance easily operated from a lower position. Both the refrigerator and the pantry have been banished from the kitchen visually, but in fact are hidden just around the corner still within arm’s reach of the countertops.
Functional open floating shelves are reserved for clear glass items and colorful ones that integrate well with the backsplash photograph. The prep sink faucet is an adjustable pot filler and operates with foot control pedals from a medical surgery suite –perfect for kitchen prep with busy hands. The Douglas Fir breakfast table nests under the kitchen island counter as additional work space but also easily slides across to join with the two identical tables that serve the dining room. This not only unifies the aesthetics of the dining room and kitchen but seamlessly expands the table into a 15’ banquet area, leaving more open floor area in the kitchen during the most busy party prep time.
So many kitchens seem either banished from the public life of the house or suffocated by their functional demands. Here, we battle back with a design fluidly integrated with the public life of the home with every functional need met but in unexpected ways. ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬The result is a kitchen design that blurs the thresholds between spaces just as the home overall blurs the threshold between outside and in.