Text by: Tiffany Carboni
There’s nothing more exciting to an interior designer than getting a blank slate to work with…except, perhaps, having hip clients who are willing to stretch their comfort zone.
Lonni Paul got both when she was hired by a bikini designer-music agent power couple to design them a brand new house, including this kitchen, from the ground up. “The couple has two kids and wanted a family great room that was ideal for entertaining large groups,” explains the designer.
Given their house’s proximity to the beach, the Santa Monica, CA couple wanted their great room, which opens to the pool and adjacent pool house, to reflect that chill, SoCal surfer feel. The white-on-white palette includes shaker cabinets custom-designed by Paul, Cararra marble counters and Calcatta marble tile backsplash in a woven basket pattern to add subtle texture. The Saarinen table by Knoll continues the marble theme and gives the kids a spot to gather with friends. “I couldn’t resist the antler chairs I found from Orange on Beverly Boulevard. They really give the space an ultra-cool feel,” says the designer.
Paul carries the animal motif back to the island with the zebra stools she found at Calypso Home in Los Angeles. The island is the kitchen’s most popular hangout. It was sized accordingly to accommodate large food spreads as well as make sure any splattering oil from the cooktop couldn’t hit onlookers.
While the oak flooring stained to a dark-chocolate hue contrasts dramatically with the room’s pale hues, Paul wanted a bigger statement by way of an orange rug. “It was a tough sell at first; the color was a bit intimidating. We considered a few different versions before settling on this one,” says Paul. “In the end, the homeowners agreed that the rug makes the room.”
The grand ceiling adds to the indoor-outdoor space’s inviting openness. Paul didn’t want to disrupt that effect with excessive light fixtures. Aside from the chandelier over the dining table, Paul used recessed lights in the ceiling and under cabinets, and put them on separate dimmers for proper mood lighting day or night.
For this surfer-chic family, their kitchen is now the hippest spot in town.