Palo Alto-based architect Tali Hardonag needed an open, modern kitchen for a down-to-the-foundation remodeling project that takes advantage of the natural California sunlight.
Maintaining privacy while maximizing natural light was the primary challenge architect Tali Hardonag faced when overhauling a small Palo Alto duplex into a single-family home. The perimeter couldn’t be changed, but there were no restrictions on rearranging the walls or the roof. Tali’s modern solution featured a butterfly roof with high clerestory windows and more than 20 feet of glass doors overlooking the backyard.
“The whole house was designed to take advantage of front and back views with nothing on the side,” says Tali. “The butterfly roof allowed me to bring light into the house, and that set the style for the home: light, bright, clean, and uncluttered. We needed to find a kitchen to fit that.”
The kitchen would be the centerpiece of the home. The client loves to cook and entertain. Tali had already worked with European Cabinets and Design Studios on several projects and immediately suggested they take a look. The client liked what they saw at ECDS, and Tali forwarded the layout to Robert Berkovich.
The available floor area for the kitchen was limited, so Tali provided direction on which walls should have cabinets and which walls should remain open to maximize the space, and Robert worked with the client to provide what they needed in terms of storage options.
It was a team effort between Robert, Tali, and the client to come up with the final design making color choices, operations, hardware, all the other little details. “It really was a very productive team effort and that’s what I really like about working with Robert and Alexandra,” says Tali.
The budget was very controlled, so as they project progressed, there were suggestions that fell by the wayside because of cost. However, Tali says they had no problem finding cabinets to fit the budget. “I don’t think they felt like they were compromising on anything. They really got the look they wanted.”
The look of the kitchen is decidedly modern with Slate Grey matte lacquer base cabinets with built-in aluminum handles from the Aran Cucine Erika collection, and vertically opening white frosted glass wall cabinets with integrated undercabinet lights from the Volare collection. They went with a Silestone countertop in White Zeus, and created a countertop-to-ceiling backsplash using Porcelanosa tile.
The client chose a gas cooktop and steam oven from Wolf because they do a lot of cooking. The Miele hood and stainless steel SubZero refrigerator are consistent with the modern look.
Having a big open kitchen that is one with the great room can sometimes be an issue because appliances on the counter can affect the open, uncluttered look, and they also didn’t want the front entry to spill directly into the kitchen. Tali designed a tower at one end of the island to create a visual barrier from the front door, and also offer a hidden nook for the microwave and coffee maker.
“Even though it’s a very open kitchen, there’s a sculptural element that creates the hidden nook,” says Tali.
In the end, Tali says the client was very, very happy with their new home, and the whole process couldn’t have been more enjoyable. “We had a wonderful relationship with the client and great input from Robert on all the kitchen design. I totally appreciate all that.”