Kitchen Confidential The top talent from around the LCDQ share their expert advice and inspired tips to create the space of your dreams.
While many think of the shops and showrooms up, down, and around La Cienega as the place to browse and buy rugs, fine antiques and artful objets, there’s also a multitude of makers and designer professionals that transform kitchens and baths every day. If a new kitchen is on your list for 2018, you’ll want to keep this invaluable guide that covers it all…from cabinetry to cushions, tile to paint, fixtures to lighting.
Plan & Prep
Hollywood Sierra Kitchen Co-Owner Gerry Bross, who tackles kitchen huilds and renovations on a daily basis, recommends that any plan should start not with countertops but with finance and function.
“It’s important to know your budget,” he says. “There will be a lot of expenses and it’s key to establish where you want to spend. Is it on high-end appliances, or the cabinetry, fixtures and furnishings.”
Next question his team asks is how will the homeowner use the kitchen and expand ideas outside of a traditional set up. “My partner Peter Grisdela (a Certified Kitchen Designer), and I often start by asking ‘What do you like?’ but we also walk the house,” says Bross. “What’s the connection of the kitchen to the rest of the space? Are there opportunities like expanding a wall, opening up a window, moving a laundry room or even adding a butler’s pantry or half-bath?”
Bross notes it’s crucial for client’s to bring any kitchen designer into the process early to coordinate with an architect or designer. “The best results come when we are a partner to the design team and help the client realize their dream mix of form and function,” he says.
And relationships expand beyond the drywall and blueprints. “Having partners in the LCDQ (see below) is key to the process,” he continues. “We can then doll it up with beautiful tile, vintage hardware. All the elements that really wake up a space.”
To Bross and team, it’s not about being the biggest part of the project. It’s the right collaboration that creates a great space.
Find a Design
While Hollywood Sierra offers looks that range from classic traditional to ultra modern, Bross says that the trend now is somewhere in the middle. It’s less about ornamentation and more about optimizing what you have.
“There’s something that happened in the last recession,” he says. “People started moving toward a more minimal look. It’s about reinterpreting transitional, contemporary designs in a fresh way.” There’s a desire for what Bross calls an “attractive, utilitarian look.” Though the overall aesthetic is clean, there’s a lot going on under the counter and behind the cabinet door. “There’s so many interesting and unique features now,” says Bross. “From knife block drawers to LED lighting in cabinets and every organizational insert you could dream up.”
In terms of materials and colors, Bross says walnut remains a popular choice. “People like it now with a slight wash,” he says. “It lends a warm, rustic quality to a contemporary design.”
Detailed millwork has also subsided; a result of higher costs and a desire for a cleaner look “We don’t see a lot of demand for inset cabinetry,” says Bross. “People want a more European, frameless look. It feels more modern.”
People are also choosing paint over stain in many kitchens today. Grays and whites remain super popular and there’s now a growing market for deeper, moodier shades like charcoal and dark blues and greens especially set against today’s brass hardware trend.
Ultimately, no matter the finish and flourishes, Bross says select a style that ultimately feels timeless. “We love to see a finished kitchen that looks like it’s been there forever and flows to and from the rest of the house.”
Countertops & Tile
Tabarka Studio is generating a good amount of buzz around the LCDQ (and beyond) for their gorgeous, custom terracotta tile. Creative Director / Owner Meir Zenati suggests what he’s seeing for kitchens in 2018 and beyond. “While terracotta is timeless, cement, particularly terrazzo, is having a real moment,” he says. “Pairing this natural and understated material with brass is unique.”
Zenati feels the choices you make, with tile or anything else should speak to a larger story you’re telling in the space. “The kitchen is the source of comfort and congregation,” he says. “We emphasize the balance of form and function. Tile can in many ways act as a permanent art installation; it should both inspire and calm you, and infuse your space with personality.”
Right now, Zenati sees people going for bolder choices in the kitchen, creating points of interest as they would in a dining or living space. “Metallic and bold colors are trending,” he says. “We’re also seeing the backsplash take on new territory in kitchens. Tiling walls all the way to the ceiling creates an element that ties the whole space together.”
For countertops, Hollywood Sierra Kitchen’s Bross reminds clients again to think about the wear and tear of their kitchen surface space. “Marble is beautiful but we point out that it will show every scratch,” he says. “Even if you don’t use it a lot.”
More durable choices include granite that resembles soapstone and CaesarStone quartz surfaces. “People want the beauty of a look, but the kitchen is such a used spot, we always show them what will work well in a working space.” That said, when clients want marble, they deliver.
Hardware & Fixtures
Renaissance Design Studio specializes in architectural hardware, custom designed hardware, and designer plumbing fixtures in addition to French lighting, handcrafted staircases, doors, and millwork.
Vice President Gary Erickson echoes the advice of many when choosing plumbing and hardware, think of design and durability. “I’m a big fan of durable and functional when it comes to plumbing and hardware in this space,” says Erickson. “Stainless steel, polish and satin nickels are hardened metals and very conducive for a kitchen environment.”
Erickson also likes uncoated natural brass finishes for an enduring beauty. “Within months of installation, the hardware’s natural patinas take on the appearance of being decades old.” Before choosing your finish, Erickson advises getting educated on what costs what.
“No one budgets for the cabinet hardware,” he says. “These fittings are really the jewelry of the kitchen. Clients may spend in excess of $100,000 on their kitchen remodel and then have sticker shock when they see the handles are $30 apiece.” He says putting this into the budget initially will ensure you “take an average kitchen and transform it into an amazing environment.”
Sometimes an afterthought with all of the other decisions in a build or remodel, it’s worth reminding that lighting is key to working in and enjoying the space overall. Valerie Thomas, Director of West Coast Operations at Remains Lighting agrees that a kitchen needs a good balance of decorative and task lighting. “Kitchens are a favorite gathering space in the home and the right fixtures create visual interest and warmth in the space,” she says.
Style wise, Thomas is seeing clients gravitate toward more sculptural shapes in rich, earthy finishes like aged brass, bronze. “They are warm and homey,” she says. “A trio of glass pendants (like the case blown Modern Beehive) is functional and classic over the island or a long communal table,” says Thomas.
As with texture, color, and pattern, people are now looking to make a major statement with lighting. “We’re seeing chandeliers (like the Haussmann Linear style) that add movement and volume, and a stunning point of interest,” says Thomas.
Paint & Paper
Britain’s Farrow & Ball creates paints and wallpapers that exude quiet English charm but still feel modern and fresh. Erik Runner, Colour Consultant and Showroom Manager at the Melrose Avenue location shared his color commentary to cast your kitchen in a role as luminous and interesting as any other room in the home.
The first step is to consider the color and pattern of the kitchen floor and countertops, as these are the “immutable elements” in the space. Runner also says pay attention to the weight of the shades you select. “A deeper tone can ground lower cabinets and islands to the floor, freeing up everything above counter height to brighten and expand the space,” he says. Lastly, think about the objects or collections that will live in the room. “Vintage white stoneware will stand out against a rich, dark background,” says Runner. “But beautiful crystal stemware and silver pieces play best off a crisp white.”
So what paint colors and papers does he like in 2018? For walls, Runner likes to keep it neutral and light. “Ammonite is a wonderful soft, warm gray that crisps up in full sun, but mellows to the softest of putties at night.” As a backdrop for cooler, deeper tones, Runner recommends Dimpse. He also recommends Skimming Stone as a nice neutral for a midcentury home and Light Blue as an option with “more depth of color but can still act as a neutral base for stronger colors.”
When selecting color for cabinetry, Runner suggests either a great white or going with a statement-making darker tone. His favorite white is Wevet. “It’s the color of a good quality porcelain subway tile.” On the darker side, there’s Stiffkey Blue, an inky navy or Tanner’s Brown, which Runner describes as “a lovely nutty brown that never reads red.”
Wallpaper can add subtle print and character to the cook/dine space. “Hegemone, one of our newest florals, is a meandering pattern which is fresh and lighthearted,” says Runner. He also likes Gable, a whimsical midcentury take on a barnyard scene—ideal for a casual, family space. For wow factor, there’s Chromatic Stripe. “It combines the bold graphic with the richness of a three-color palette,” he says. “Hang it horizontally for maximum visual impact.”
“It’s important to make sure that a kitchen space looks inviting,” says Lydia Cullen, PR & Trade Manager at Serena & Lily—the brand that exudes breezy California design. “To succeed at this, it’s important to incorporate naturals, clean lines, a touch of pattern, and never forget texture. When you check all of these boxes, you should be able to deliver on the relaxed yet sophisticated kitchen that everyone wants.”
Cullen believes that neutral anchors allow the kitchen texture and pattern to shine. “It gives you more room to layer with fun accent pillows, wallpapers, and rugs,” she says. One such look is their Riviera Collection, a take on classic French Bistro designs.
For a contemporary look, Cullen suggests their Balboa pieces, which have clean lines with brass caped feet. It’s the “relaxed, California glamour” the brand is known for. Looking for pieces that go with an Industrial-meets-Farmhouse design? Cullen likes the New California Dining Collection. “It’s reminiscent of a picnic table, but reimagined with refined lines and a sophisticated finish,” she says.
LCDQ Kitchen Design Address Book
(Kitchen/Bath Design, Cabinetry and Fixtures)
926 N. La Cienega Blvd.
(Architectural Hardware, Fixtures, Lighting & Millwork)
972 N. La Cienega Blvd.
(Tile, Stone, Hardware)
912 N. La Cienega Blvd.
(Paint and Wallpaper)
8475 Melrose Ave
(Furniture, Bedding, Rugs, Décor)
8422 Melrose Ave.
(Rare Antique Marbles and French Limestone, Custom Bronze Faucetry)
845 N. La Cienega Blvd.
(Furniture, Lighting, Fabric)
822 N. La Cienega Blvd.
(Lighting, Furniture & Accessories)
8620 Melrose Ave.
(Custom, Made-To- Order and Antique Lighting)
808 N La Cienega Blvd
(Hardware, Furniture, Lighting, Textiles, Rugs)
8564 Melrose Ave.
(Faucets and Fittings, Surfaces, Lighting, Hardware, Cabinetry)
8431 Melrose Place