2013 Kitchen and Bath Design Guide


Perched on the shoulder of a precipitous slope, the Kafka Residence presents the lofty outlook of a cliff dwelling.

“It’s a really wonderful site, with spectacular views of the ocean,” says architect Taal Safdie, who composed the building as a series of overlapping, flat-roofed forms that descend in stepwise fashion from the road. One enters at the uppermost level, where a rectangular plan is sliced diagonally by a wall of sliding glass panels. “It allows the indoor and outdoor spaces to become one,” Safdie says. Living, dining, and kitchen areas share a single, open space, merging fluidly with the elevated deck that caps the lower-level family room and bedrooms.

Kitchen functions hug the uphill side of the space, supported by an elongated L of wall-hung base cabinets with an open kick space. “We have the cabinets floating,” Safdie says, “so they don’t look like kitchen cabinets.” The kitchen workspace extends into a pantry that conceals the refrigerator and ovens, and whose storage capacity obviates the need for wall cabinets elsewhere. A 15-foot-long island provides casual seating and reinforces the room’s strongly horizontal orientation.

A band of glazing at counter height, capped with a shelf made of the same quartz composite as the countertops, lights the work surface without inviting scrutiny from passersby. “You can’t really look into the house from the street,” Safdie says. Another cantilevered shelf caps the cooktop’s marble backsplash, which matches the custom dining table. “There are very few materials,” says Safdie, who specified cabinets faced with the same walnut veneer that clads the room’s walls and ceiling (as well as the custom light fixture that hangs over the island). “Whatever you see from the living spaces we wanted to make look as little like a kitchen as possible,” she says.