Colorful Contemporary Kitchen

The Space: The Great Room in a second home located in Sea Ranch, an architecturally and environmentally renown community on the northern California coast. The existing kitchen occupied about 90% of a recessed niche in the room with the remaining 10% devoted to a narrow entrance to the adjacent master bedroom.

Former kitchen

The Need: The client was disenchanted with the existing kitchen which had a formal, traditional dark look. He felt it seemed out of place in a contemporary (1989) home on the coast. Additionally, the layout seemed less than ideal with the awkward entry to the master bedroom sharing the niche with the kitchen. The client really wanted a colorful contemporary kitchen and InHouse was asked to evaluate the space for the optimal solution. The client was open to designing an entirely new kitchen or simply making some changes to the existing kitchen that could address his concerns.

During kitchen renovation: old kitchen dismantled


The Solution: After considering numerous options for the space, InHouse and the client decided to dismantle the existing kitchen and sell it for reuse in another home. The layout of the new kitchen was turned 90 degrees allowing for a better relationship to the room’s seating and dining areas. Also, by moving the master bedroom’s entrance to an adjacent wall, the entire niche could be devoted to a larger, more functional and colorful contemporary kitchen.

A peninsula with a Caesarstone top now runs parallel to the main seating area. This long counter abuts a tall storage cabinet that allows for maximum use of the corner space, often a underutilized area. This cabinet offers storage from three sides: from the front where there are numerous pull out shelves and storage drawers behind the two cabinet doors; to the right where it provides a recessed niche for unsightly dishwashing accessories; and from the rear where a hidden space conveniently houses countertop appliances. In order to prevent the potential “foot in the bowl” catastrophe, the peninsula ends with a whimsical inset nook for the dog’s food and water.

The concept for the new kitchen was to bring the “outside in” with a contemporary yet eclectic design. The new cabinets have a dual personality: the lower ones and the refrigerator cabinet are painted dark brown with a board and batten exterior (a familiar look borrowed from the exterior of many Sea Ranch homes) while the upper cabinets and the large corner cabinet are a lightly stained rift oak. The oak cabinet doors have glass inserts and play with the veneer direction to create dramatic flush panels of rift oak. The walls behind the new kitchen were painted a striking blue which alludes to the color of the local sky. Industrial light pendants hang from custom designed wrought iron “arms” over the center of the space and provide ambient light. Under-cabinet task lighting and new track lights supply ample light for food preparation. Much to the client’s delight, the new design maximizes storage and work space while allowing him to easily engage guests as he cooks. InHouse was responsible for the design and execution of the new kitchen.

Photo K-1: Sea Ranch Kitchen After Photo K-2: Dog Eating Area at End of Peninsula