When he started working on this historic Hancock Park, CA, home, Steve Pallrand, Founder of Home Front Build, planned to remodel the kitchen, but zoning laws prohibited any additions. So Pallrand got creative and took the room, originally built in 1928, from the Jazz Age to today, modernizing it to become the hub and heart of the home.
1. The demands on a family kitchen can be intense and messy, so the finishes must be elegant and bulletproof. The sumptuous marble countertops were installed with a layer of protective film that could endure a spill of battery acid. The backsplash is an imported, hand-cut, Moroccan tile, which facets light like a jewel, but is also high fired so it has the surface durability of glass. The rich blue with elegant brass accents signified that this was no longer a utility space, but was a room synonymous in tone and grandeur with the rest of the house. Elegance is not only about looks, but also about grace under fire.
2. The challenge of designing a contemporary kitchen in a grand period home is that it must be completely functional, but also completely elegant. It is no longer a utility space for the help, but a public space for friends and family. Guests never see the dining room anymore, except maybe at Thanksgiving, so the grandeur that was once expressed in those rooms now needs to be showcased in the kitchen. And, you must be able to whip up a snack at a moment’s notice before the next soccer match or reheat the morning coffee in an out-of-sight drawer microwave to revive the spirit before heading back to pick up the kids from school.
3. We kept the original north-facing bay window and opened the kitchen to the adjacent breakfast room to the south. Originally the two rooms were connected by a swinging door to separate the utility space from the formal, but now that the spaces were contiguous, we added a wide Moroccan arch, an element used in the more formal entry.