By: Tiffany Carboni
There’s a stereotype about Californians that they’re a bunch of sun-loving environmentalist. And with good reason, many are. Included are the homeowners of this Menlo Park house who wanted their new kitchen to reflect those eco-loving ideals.
While the extensive remodel, which affected 80% of their house, could have been accomplished more easily by bulldozing the entire building, the homeowners—in accordance with architects Shen Chiou and Marc Ojanen of Ojanen_Chiou Architects—opted not to do so. Instead they kept things eco-friendlier by salvaging the structure and adding as many energy-efficient components as possible.
The revamped kitchen used the existing footprint and large skylight, which Chiou explains, “was a really good feature we were happy to keep.”
The team pushed the room out an additional 12 feet to create the airy dining area. The original eight-foot-high ceiling stayed intact while the new section pitches up to nearly 11 feet. The continuous doors by LaCantina open fully to an 11-foot width offering easy flow to the new patio where the family spends much of its time worshipping the sun.
Above the doorway, Chiou and Ojanen added two pole-operated Milgard vinyl windows. Given the walls’ southwestern exposure, the architects made sure to provide the windows with pull-down shades. “Even in winter, this kitchen gets so much light,” explains Chiou. “In the latter part of the afternoon it can get too bright.” Not that the homeowners are complaining about their resulting low utility bill.
Inside, the clear fir custom cabinetry and oak flooring match the rest of the house’s existing golden materials. The simple, flush-door cabinets with minimalistic pulls are topped with the clean-looking white Caesarstone quartzite. Adding to the kitchen’s contemporary simplicity, the team used a translucent, back-painted glass backsplash installed in three flawless pieces.
At the island, playful stools offer a splash of colorful fun and are a great spot for doing homework and hanging out. On the other side, the island is equipped with a Miele warming oven and plenty of storage. The other stainless steel appliances include a Bosch dishwasher, Wolf range and Liebherr refrigerator that were chosen for quality, appearance and, of course their energy efficiency.
Florescent recessed lights carefully placed around the skylight come on only after sunset. LED under-counter lights and glass globe pendants create mood lighting for evening get-togethers that inevitably turn into indoor-outdoor affairs regardless of the season.