Going Beyond Big

Great design means fit and finish, not square footage. Get ideas on how to win consumers in the West - and the rest - with these elegant elevations and intricate interiors.

September 30, 2004

Architect: R.A.W. Concepts, Albany, Calif.

Remodeler and interior designer: Tappan Builders, Berkeley, Calif.


The Little Things That Count
See the Winners
Blending the Old and the New
Puzzle-Perfect Remodel
All Kitchens Great and Small
A Simple Spa
Climbing Addition
Commercial Success
Additional Winners
Replacing a 1980s minimalist remodel in stark tones,the Craftsman style of the kitchen now matches the rest of the 93-year-old home. Photos: Ann Tappan
The new island has a prep sink instead of a cooktop, allowing for buffet dining while also keeping major cooking and cleanup to the kitchen's periphery.

While the Boston kitchen seeks to be sleek and streamlined in its smallness, this Bay Area kitchen thrives on turning the standard features in today's world of big-budget centerpiece kitchens on their sides. Yes, the kitchen is large - 300 square feet - and open, playing to its surrounding spaces. Yes, it has a nice, big island and shiny new appliances. Yes, the cabinets are plentiful. But this kitchen is enveloped in palpable warmth and imbued with an individuality that's often lacking in kitchens that just go for big, big, big.

The island has a presence more furniture than function, even though it provides vast working space, bookshelves and lots of storage in addition to housing the microwave. The baker's table concept offers a size and versatility that makes the possibilities for the homeowner endless. It can accommodate buffet-style dining or casual seating, facilitate all kitchen work or serve as a gathering place when visitors come to play.

The fine detailing - such as a light-gray granite island countertop that contrasts the dark-gray backsplash, the glass display cabinets, cabinetry panels for the dishwasher and vent hood and island's legs that mimic the trim of the entryway into the family room - solidifies the relationship between the kitchen and the rest of the house, a real fulfillment of the home's Craftsman architecture.

"In Craftsman homes, every bit of space is used, and in this spirit, the inches to the right of the refrigerator were used for a wine rack," says R.A.W. Concepts principal Robert Wolf, AIA, pointing to what he feels is one of the kitchen's more noteworthy characteristics. This choice also creates a definite visual separation between the kitchen and the dining area, aided by dual wood tones and a bead board ceiling with coffered beams in the kitchen.

"The circulation pattern throughout the kitchen, dining area and towards the back door laundry and half bath creates the ideal balance of utility and aesthetics," Wolf says. "Modern conveniences were incorporated with special finishes to establish a timeless traditional craftsman style."

The how of this kitchen is as impressive as the what. Offering exceptional value, this kitchen was done for less than $60,000 in California, an area with some of the highest job costs in the country.

Dishwasher: Miele. Faucets: Grohe, Kohler. Lighting: Alfa, Juno, Lightolier. Range: Viking. Refrigerator: Sub-Zero. Sinks: Blanco. Tile: McIntyre

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