Text by: Tiffany Carboni
“The ‘before’ kitchen was a standard production builder’s answer to the ‘every person’ kitchen,” explains interior designer Michael Fullen. “White MDF cabinets, tile counters, and box store appliances.”
In other words, boring; the exact opposite of this spirited family of five that loves to entertain and enjoy life to its fullest in their Huntington Beach, CA home.
Fullen’s clients wanted a kitchen that could work with caterers, the family chefs, and large groups of guests included in events that range from refined charity fundraisers to teenage ‘tailgate’ parties. Most importantly, they sought a kitchen that expressed who they are as family. “They wanted an entertainer’s kitchen that they could enjoy themselves,” he says.
To create a warm, homey atmosphere, Fullen used rich walnut cabinetry sealed with clear lacquer. Caesarstone countertops give the room a sleek appearance in combination with the backsplash made up of varying sized ceramic tiles from the Savoy series at Ann Sacks Tile and Stone.
The 12-by-four-foot island is the kitchen’s nucleus, whether it’s used for a casual meal or a buffet to feed the masses. The single level surface includes plenty of storage on both sides and two oft-used dishwashers. To best accommodate the frequency of parties, Fullen installed a full-size refrigerator and freezer side-by-side and integrated them into the wall so they weren’t obtrusive focal points.
The kitchen is part of an open concept that includes the eating area, office space, dining room, and family area—all of which flows out to the patio and pool area by way of retractable doors. Fullen wanted it to feel more like it was integrated with the rest of the living space rather than its own utilitarian entity. To that end, he outfitted the kitchen with a unique way to display the family’s prized collection of glassware and objects d’art. “Rather than going with straight shelving, we created random squares and rectangles that interlock making the shelves art themselves,” he notes.
The pantry, though not on public display, is also a thing of beauty with its bevy of organizational options. “The homeowner had a list of things for which she needed storage, from packs of gum to snack bars, pasta to canned goods,” says the designer. “We created a series of drawers, racks and shelves to address everything. It’s like walking into a little gourmet store.”
This kitchen's 'after' is truly a work of art that's meant to be shown off. By hiding some things and exposing others, Fullen was able to give his clients everything they wanted for the ultimate entertainer’s kitchen.