Designing A Cook’s Kitchen & A Spa Bath

Published: September 6, 2023
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Designing A Cook’s Kitchen & A Spa Bath

When a busy California couple needed a major update to their residence, they hired designer Wendy Glaister, owner and principal of Wendy Glaister Interiors, after they saw her work on Houzz. The clients are physicians who work long hours and were expecting their first child. They wanted to make this forever home truly theirs aesthetically, spatially, energetically and functionally. The scope of work would include a cook’s kitchen and a spa bathroom.

“The house is in Ripon, Calif., which is an idyllic location, and although it had the guts of a great family home, it needed a lot of work,” said Glaister. “We pretty much took it down to the studs, and there was not one surface that wasn’t touched. With their inspiration photos, I was able to clearly understand their aesthetic.”

Cook’s Kitchen Fundamentals

The former space was cramped, lacked organization and had an inefficient layout. Glaister removed an angled wall on one side, which opened the kitchen and allowed for a 12-ft. island – fulfilling the clients’ desire for a space in which to entertain friends and family. The two original windows and sliding-glass door were replaced with two larger, fixed windows, which provide a great view of the garden outside. With the new windows, Glaister was able to add countertops and lower cabinets all the way across the back wall, which provide areas for cooking, a baking center and additional storage.

“Coined as a workhorse wonder, this kitchen is at once powerful and refined,” said the designer. “Cooking is a big deal for this Asian American family. They prepare a lot of traditional meals, and they wanted enough space for everyone to work together at the same time.”

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The color palette in this kitchen was based on the porcelain backsplash tile, something the clients resonated with early on during the project. The gray, blue and green hues provide an organic look and feel that works nicely with the pendants and custom matte-black metal shelving. The backsplash is also in tune with the clients’ desire for a contemporary but not cold space.

• Cabinets & Storage Innovation. The island was done in a wood-grain laminate that is durable and easy to clean, and the perimeter cabinets are a matte linen-textured laminate. The lighted matte-black open shelving adds what Glaister refers to as quiet drama.

Because the wife is an accomplished baker, the design team created a modern baking zone that houses a KitchenAid lift and drawers for smaller appliances, dry goods and spice storage. Once the project was complete, the clients hired an organizational expert, Shelby Cornett from The Neat Freak Co., to help optimize their storage in the kitchen.

• Stunning Surfaces. The porcelain tile backsplash is easy to clean, which is essential in Asian cooking, which uses a lot of oil. The quartz countertops in two different colors are also easy to maintain and add an earth-friendly element that was important to the clients. The flooring is a luxury vinyl plank, which stands up well to wet traffic from the pool just outside the kitchen.

• Purposeful Plumbing Fixtures. To create ample space in which the homeowners can work together in the cook’s kitchen, Glaister chose a 5-ft. flush-installed workstation sink on the island. A refreshment bar features a water filtration system that provides cold, room temperature, boiling or sparkling water just outside of the kitchen’s working triangle. Two faucets – the clients are partial to matte black – were incorporated for the long sink.

• Lighting Layout. The layered plan includes task, general and ambient lighting. Lighting designer Carrie Arnold specified 2-in. recessed LED lights, LED linear lighting and concrete pendants over the island for a sculptural element. According to Glaister, Alloy LED, the linear lighting brand used in this project, offers highly customized solutions, studying the cabinet plan and providing cut-to-fit kits that are expressly made for each space.

Bountiful Bathroom

Creating a spa-like primary retreat for the couple’s busy lifestyle was essential to the project. According to the designer, the previous space did not feel or function correctly, so she sought to make it more visually connected, open, airy and warm. The natural color palette speaks to the need for a peaceful space, and the natural terrazzo flooring with a touch of semi-precious stones provides some contrast.

Like the kitchen cabinets, the vanity is finished in a wood-grain laminate and illuminated underneath with dimmable LED lighting for different moods and uses. Additional lighting includes 2-in. recessed trims and a feature pendant over the vanity.

Glaister eliminated the bulky tub and small shower and replaced those with a wet room – complete with a freestanding soaker and a sizable shower area. This wet room increases the open feeling of the primary bath, and the tub location on the window wall provides a view of the outdoors.

The shower features a kinetic showerhead, shower wand and a multisource valve. The selected fixtures for the wet room and vanity were not originally available in the matte-black finish the clients desired, so the supplier, Abe’s Plumbimg, sent them out to have them powder coated, which Glaister says is next-level customization.

Overcoming Challenges & Lessons Learned

The custom shelves in the kitchen took a collaboration of four team members to perfect. A metal artist made the shelves out of 1-in. square tubing; the powder coat vendor applied the matte-black finish; the electrician wired the shelving through the hollow tubing; and the cabinet craftsman routed his shelving to allow for a flush install of the LED lighting.

Another hurdle was the shower floor because the terrazzo is only sold in 3-in. by 2-in. tiles. The tile installer, Parris Tile, calculated the shower floor area to determine the correct size for the tiles to fit the space. The larger tiles were then cut down accordingly to avoid unsightly sliver cuts of tile or uneven tile sizes at each end of the wet room.

If given the chance to do anything differently in this project, Glaister said she would rethink the no-hardware look – especially with the touch latches. When one leans against the cabinets, they open automatically, which may be an issue with an active family.

Challenges aside, the project is a huge success, and even the tradespeople said as much when they were invited to return to see and share their finished work on photoshoot day. Glaister speaks highly of her team, led by master contractor Dean Adkins. She gives them props for making the process easy by respecting one another and being solution oriented. She was a huge fan of the clients as well.

“They were extremely intentional about making this the perfect home and hideaway, and they believed in our vision and trusted us to create this for them,” she said. “They were incredibly gracious to and appreciative of everyone who worked on this project. This made it a joy to create this home for them.”

—By Chelsie Butler, KBB executive editor

Source List

Designer: Wendy Glaister, Wendy Glaister Interiors Contractor: Dean Adkins, Adkins Construction Lighting Designer: Carrie Arnold Photographer: Mark Verschelden KITCHEN Cabinets: Finsa Countertops: Silestone Faucets: Kohler Flooring: Christina Collection Pendants: Visual Comfort Range, Range Hood & Wall Ovens: Wolf Refrigeration: Bosch Sink: Mila Water Filtration: Zip Water PRIMARY BATH Countertop: Silestone Faucets & Tub Filler: Brizo Flooring: Artistic Tile Mirror: Uttermost Pendant: Troy Lighting Shower Drain: Christopher Grubb for California Faucets Shower Fittings: Phylrich Shower Tile: Bedrosians Tub: Victoria + Albert Vanity: Finsa Vanity Lighting: Alloy Window Shades: Hunter Douglas  

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