Their Own Private Circus

KITCHEN OVER $100,000 Interior designer: Bauer Interior Design, San Francisco, Calif. General contractor: John Sullivan, San Francisco, Calif. A piece of artwork of a circus scene inspired interior designer Lou Ann Bauer's clients to crave a kitchen full of color and energy —that's not too cutesy or childlike.

October 31, 2006

Block-style windows and cabinets accent the custom-crafted stainless steel hood. A single piece of yellow slump glass seerves as a backsplash behind the range.  After photos by David Duncan Livingston

KITCHEN OVER $100,000

Interior designer: Bauer Interior Design, San Francisco, Calif.

General contractor: John Sullivan, San Francisco, Calif.

A piece of artwork of a circus scene inspired interior designer Lou Ann Bauer's clients to crave a kitchen full of color and energy —that's not too cutesy or childlike. Handing over a great deal of trust, the homeowners let Bauer use a whimsical mix of colors, shapes and finishes to transform their conventional and ho-hum kitchen into a unique space that is equally functional.


"One of the most rewarding elements of this whole project was the trust level that they put in me to implement their vision," Bauer says. "They really permitted me to be very creative and did not micro-manage the project on their end. It was all about communication and listening to what the client wanted and taking it from there."

Before

Bauer created a very detailed set of working drawings for the project that involved relocating a walk-in pantry and laundry room as well as transforming the tray ceiling into a more dramatic vaulted one. Her design includes a new island, a separate eating area and custom cabinets that feature a combination of cherry, maple, paint-grade surfaces and 12 different types of hardware. A multi-color backsplash of diamond-shaped ceramic tile accents Brazilian blue granite counters.

"She really did her research," says general contractor John Sullivan, "and was very design specific. It really made a complicated job like this one a whole lot easier."

Cabinets have different finishes; in some cases, a single piece has multiple finishes.

Bauer advises reexamining materials and how they come together to add character to a space. "Cabinets don't always have to match, for example," she says. "A project does not have to be as wild as this one, but by mixing things up you can get interesting results."

One of the benefits of such a unique project, says Bauer, is how it can be used to inspire everyone from the client to the designer to the trades. "People just get excited when they are working on something different," she says. "You are re-capturing their attention and this can be a great way to get their very best efforts."

"Projects don't come along like this often," agrees Sullivan. "I really had a great time doing it."

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