Setting the Stage


Tama Bell Design refreshes a Santa Rosa kitchen with the perfect amount of drama for avid entertainers

The black soapstone from M. Teixeira Soapstone is framed by navy and walnut cabinets, allowing the Brooklyn faucet from Waterworks to shine. Photos by Christopher Stark.

“We believe that the floor plan is foundational to how a home feels and functions and strive to create simple, smart floor plans, which we can then build on top of to create a space that is not only beautiful but feels good,” says Tama Bell of Tama Bell Design on how she and her firm approach each project. “We meet with clients and determine what they are trying to achieve, where they are trying to go and what the house has to say.”

When hired to update a 2,800-square-foot mid-century home in Santa Rosa by a couple who fell in love with the area after spending weekends in Santa Rosa, Bell and her team focused their efforts on breathing new life into the kitchen. “This property, which was home to one family for six decades, appealed to them immediately for its history, curb appeal and spaciousness, among other qualities,” she says. “It needed updating to reflect today’s sensibilities and to accommodate the new owners’ lifestyle, which includes hosting large family gatherings, intimate dinners and impromptu get-togethers with neighbors under the stars as well as catered parties to celebrate life events and rally friends around causes dear to their community.”

Anastacia soapstone countertops create a bold statement above the custom walnut cabinets, handcrafted by Lake County Woodcrafters, which are illuminated by a Murano chandelier. Photos by Christopher Stark.

The process began with the reconfiguration of the original entry, kitchen, bathroom, laundry and a spare bedroom that had an awkward flow. “Changing the flow and function of the kitchen was significant to opening it up,” says Bell. “It created additional living area as it opens dramatically to the backyard patio, which is ideal for our California climate.” They achieved this goal by relocating the kitchen to the back of the house, which allowed for more workspace. The warm walnut cabinets, topped with a dramatic soapstone, create a refined, masculine tone that is carried throughout the home. Floating above is an Italian Murano glass chandelier the clients acquired while traveling in Europe prior to the renovation that Bell customized to fit the scale of the island. “Our clients tell us that the space has them feeling a sense of gratitude,” she says. “They are both excellent cooks and the former kitchen could barely accommodate the two of them, making it a challenge to collaborate.”