Text By: Tiffany Carboni
Architect Ron Radziner, FAIA, of Marmol Radziner always brings his A game to the projects he designs. When hired to create the kitchen that was to be the heart of this Venice, CA home, he had to step it up even more for his extra special clients—his own family.
Their previous kitchen had lots of stainless steel elements including counters, which they loved. For their new house, however, the family was ready for something warmer and in keeping with the larger property’s natural surroundings. Starting from the ground up, Radziner conceived the house in three parts: the living/dining room on the west, the family area and bedrooms on the east and the kitchen in the center.
He sunk the kitchen to punctuate its importance as the home’s core and to provide visual transparency across the east and west wings. “There’s a purity to how the house is put together,” he explains. “Had it all been on the same level, views and light would have been blocked. Instead, the kitchen has a more comfortable quality because the counters double as benches when approached from the higher level.”
Those counters are made from solid, plain sawn walnut that match the various other walnut details such as the custom cabinetry, ceiling and flooring—all of which create a cohesion with the native plants outside.
While the kitchen is a warm welcome to guests and serves as the connection between the public and private areas, it also acts as the gateway to the great outdoors. Sliding windows and doors by Fleetwood provide a panorama of the pool, side and backyard. “I’m happiest with architecture that integrates well with nature,” Radziner notes.
He is so enamored by the juxtaposition of architecture and nature that he had a living roof installed atop the kitchen. “I think of the center swath of the house as the water portion,” he explains. “There’s the swimming pool of course, but there’s also the riparian landscaping planted with rushes, reeds, and sycamore trees, all of which you’d find near our state creeks. It feels tranquil.”
Conversely, when tranquility is not on the evening’s agenda, guests are invited to enjoy the space that effortlessly converts into party central. The long counters and breakfast table offer convenient buffet and drink stations. The appliances, which include Sub-Zero, Dacor and Fisher & Paykel, provide everything the family needs to entertain (and clean up) properly.