Text by: Tiffany Carboni, Editorial Contributor
The word Mediterranean conjures up many different ideas (think: bold colors and dizzying patterns), so it can be daunting to design a kitchen of that feels workable for a busy modern family living in stateside suburbia. “As tempting as it might be,” warns Kathryn Rogers of Sogno Design Group, “you may have to edit down the use of traditional materials and over-the-top colors that won’t feel right for the house or to those who live inside it.”
The residents of this Mediterranean-style house in the San Francisco Bay Area suburbs desperately needed to revamp their dated kitchen that was shut off from the rest of the living space and surrounding hilly views. Rogers’ solution was to knock down walls creating an open floor plan that joined the kitchen with the dining and living rooms. With the kitchen on full display, she worked with her clients carefully choosing materials that worked harmoniously with the rest of the home’s bright, simple design elements.
The resulting kitchen has an understated, rustic feel with its vibrant, neutral palette. Kept in their natural color, the red birch cabinets allow their prominent grain to show through making them appear more like furniture. Black soapstone counters lead the eye up to the Ann Sacks “Old English” pewter subway and embossed tiles that form the wrap-around backsplash. The rust-colored wall, in turn, focuses attention to the breath-taking canyon view.
Though terracotta tile flooring is the more obvious choice for this genre, cork won out for this young family of four because of its friendlier qualities both on the feet and the knees of little crawlers. Another advantage is that when the children become mother’s helpers, the cork won’t chip and is much more forgiving to objects that may drop upon it.
Long counters and a generous island with room for stools provide good flow and numerous workstations for those crazy weeknights. While the breakfast counter allows the kids an arts and crafts table, the built-in desk gives their parents an area to keep the family organized in between putting meals on the table. The retractable doors hide everything when company comes over or when it’s time to turn the day off and enjoy dinner as a family. “This room is now command central for the main level of the house,” Rogers says. “Whether the kids are playing in the living room or dinner guests are gathering in the dining room, the owners can participate in the activities instead of feeling isolated in a closed off space as before. This has dramatically improved their appreciation of the house and all its wonderful qualities.”
This Mediterranean-style kitchen may not follow a traditional formula, but it’s just the right recipe for this young suburban household.