Los Altos couple finally remodels their kitchen
by Susan Golovin / photos by Dasja Dolan
The Los Altos couple knew that their Nixon-era kitchen needed
remodeling, but were loathe to undertake the project. "We
heard a lot of horror stories," the wife says.
Stainless-steel posts on the island support a sand-blasted,
elevated, glass counter that faces the family area.
"But, even though we had adapted to the idiosyncrasies of
our appliances -- like the stove that was 20 degrees lower than
it indicated -- we realized
that they were self-destructing. Finally, when we had to face replacing a dishwasher
rack for $150 for a decrepit dishwasher, we decided to get going."
The couple spent a year with a designer, and then put the plans
out to bid. "That's
when we discovered all the details we hadn't decided on. We learned a lot in
the bidding process by the questions they asked," she says.
At that point they were referred to Cupertino Kitchen Design by a friend. Because
their model kitchens generated real excitement, the couple decided to have them
adapt their first design.
The Dacor gas, stainless-steel stove offers plenty of cooking
space with its six burners, but the infrared broiler requires
a major overhead fan.
The footprint of the old kitchen remained, but the entire space
The most striking aspects of the new kitchen are the natural cherry cabinets
and drawers from Cottonwood Cabinets, crafted by carpenter Carlos Molina.
"My husband works with wood, and the details were really important to him.
The grains fit together, the drawers slide easily and the hinges on the cabinets
are great," the wife says.
"I've never been enthralled by shiny granite. It's too cold and glassy," she
adds. Instead, they chose a honed, black granite for the counter,
which provides a softer appearance. This is also the surface for
the desk top and
island, with its built-in stainless-steel sink. The island is accented by
stainless-steel posts, supporting a sand-blasted, elevated, glass
counter that faces
The quiet Bosch dishwasher is conveniently sited across from
the dish storage drawer.
"My husband wanted an infrared broiler," the wife says.
Thus, they decided on a Dacor gas, stainless-steel stove with six
broiler necessitates a very loud overhead fan, which is a source of amusement
The Bosch dishwasher is quiet -- and positioned directly across
from the dish storage drawer, making for easy unloading.
A second stove -- a Dacor oven/convection oven/microwave -- appears small but
is big enough for a turkey.
"There's a learning curve with every new appliance," the husband says. "This
one does what it's supposed to do." They decided on the Dacor
warming drawer because it has an automatic turn-off.
Modernize tired kitchen, using the same space
Unexpected problem: The new floor was uneven because
the house had settled. The contractor replaced it and charged a minimal
amount to correct the underlying problem.
Year house built: 1974
Size of project: 450 sq. ft. in kitchen
Time to complete: Approximately
Of great convenience are the customized Lazy Susans inside the cabinets. The
drawers are also customized -- for knives and silverware, spices, even for recycling.
The couple chose the slate from the stone yard in San Francisco,
which was then cut into 6" x 6" pieces on site and assembled
to their specifications for the buffet as well as for the backsplash
A decorative rectangle of sandblasted glass tiles, arranged in a diamond pattern
and surrounded by stainless steel, enhances the wall behind the double, stainless-steel
Franke sink. Hans Grohe stainless-steel fixtures are used throughout.
Typical of the attention to detail, the pull-out faucet has a cloth
neck, which the husband prefers because it eliminates "clanging." The
air gap covers were ordered on the Internet.
"I wanted ones that were heavy, not flimsy," he says.
He also located plastic-coated metal racks on the Net. These sit
in the sinks,
protecting them from scratches from heavy pots.
The floor is natural maple with golden tones. "I originally wanted oak,
but the designer advised that this would better complement the cherry cabinets," the
"We knew we had to do something about the gloom level," her husband
adds. A large bay window provides views to the north. In addition, a three-tiered "wedding
cake" skylight covers the entire work area.
"Notice that there are three different shades of yellow for each of the
tiers," the wife points out.
One thing remains intact from the old kitchen: a small, kitschy sculpture of
a fork, wrapped in pasta, which flows down into a plate of same.
"One of our kids' friends asked us if we still had the spaghetti in the
new kitchen," the wife says.
Architect/Contractor: Cupertino Kitchen Design (Designers Shirley
Shaw and Esin Karliova), (408) 257-4900, Cupertinokitchendesign.com