Text By: Tiffany Carboni
Always up for a challenge, interior designer Jason Urrutia of Urrutia Design bought this house in picturesque Mill Valley with the intention of maximizing its indoor-outdoor connection. It was built in 1979 by renowned architect Charles Moore, and was, according to the designer, advanced for its era.
Urrutia wanted to take it to the next level creating a seamless flow from the great room to the backyard, which includes a pool, patio and outdoor kitchen. His mission was to devise a luxurious oasis that capitalized on its natural surroundings.
To do so, he replaced the previously windowed wall with two sections of 22-foot-wide collapsible doors from Glass Concepts located in nearby San Rafael. Between the three skylights, side windows and doors, the kitchen is bright all day long. The only drawback, Urrutia points out, is, “When you commit to doors of this size you lose critical storage space.”
He compensated with a four-by-12-foot island built by San Rafael-based Lamperti with storage and/or appliances on every side, including eight continuous feet of drawers behind the four stools. Where the fifth stool sits at the head of the island, Urrutia added a household administration “desk” that includes a phone jack, outlets and drawers. The pantry next to the barn door was equally crucial to the project. “Even with a room this large, the storage configurations need to make sense. This was a study of creative storage solutions.”
Like the black island, the white perimeter cabinetry is made of maple. The island is topped with Carrera honed marble while the counters abutting the walls are absolute black honed granite with a subtle rippled surface. The four feet of wall cabinets showcase clear glass doors that carry through the fenestration theme as well as offer more depth and character near the ceiling’s 14-foot apex. Half way down the ceiling’s descent to its eight-foot height, glass industrial cone lights by Hudson Goods take over when the sun is finished for the day.
Urrutia, in his quest for challenges, sources as many materials locally as possible, including the tiles used for the backsplash. The sable-hued ceramic subway tiles came from by Bay Area-based Ceramic Tile Design. Other details, like the six-by-eight-foot mirror, velvet-and-nail studded stools, oversized barn door and wingback chair were custom built by Urrutia’s trusted local craftsmen. “They understood what I was looking for and as a result this home feels like old Mill Valley,” he says with pride.
Urrutia has since sold the home to a family who is enjoying the fruits of his labor. Meanwhile, the designer is happily tackling new design challenges to concur with equal aplomb.