Kitchen, confident


When he was invited to participate in the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, Jon de la Cruz felt he might be too busy to take on the project, but for him, the kitchen clenched it. “I like to design kitchens—plus I love to cook and eat,” the designer says. “So I decided to do it.” But this kitchen came with some baggage. “It’s not your typical layout,” de la Cruz, principal of DLC-ID, notes. Given the fact that it’s shaped more like a T than a square, that could be viewed as an understatement. His challenge was to make the room’s three zones work together (a rather long, narrow space; a square area lined with windows; and a more rectangular cooking and prep space). Of course, given that this is House Beautiful’s 2017 Kitchen of the Year, you can add publishing pressure to the mix. “It was a bit daunting,” de la Cruz says. “But it’s the magazine’s 10th annual Kitchen of the Year and this is the San Francisco Showcase’s 40th year, so it’s a special time to take it on.” 

The design solution came to de la Cruz when he viewed the floorplan on paper. Because the room serves a couple with eight children (including two sets of twins), he reimagined the narrow part of the kitchen as a pantry and “…something of a launch pad.” 

A thin island (mounted on wheels so it can be moved when needed) provides a surface for activities such as on-the-go breakfasts, lunch packing, or snack assembly. “I imagined what it would be like for them getting ready in the morning,” says the designer. “They can come here and get cereal, toast, whatever they need for the day. It’s kind of grab and go.” 

Now, shelving composed of metal and walnut lines the 12-foot walls, making for an open pantry. A ladder that hangs on a nearby wall can be used to reach the uppermost shelves. The designer made sense of the window-lined space by outfitting it with a table and a banquette large enough for a tribe of 10. A wallcovering by Thibaut runs from the floor to the apex of the peaked ceiling and unifies the space. “The marbled effect of the wallpaper reminds me of the mountains, the clouds, and the marine layer fog,” says de la Cruz. 

In the actual cooking area, things take a turn for the hard-working. There’s a full-size Thermador refrigerator and freezer, two sinks on either side of the island, and indestructible Caesarstone countertops. Sometimes, showcase projects are more about the show than the function, but not for this designer. “I didn’t want to make it just pretty,” says de la Cruz. “Everything here works and functions for a family.” 

That’s not to say a hard-working kitchen can’t have a pretty face; Fireclay Tile tiles, limestone floors from Haussmann, and a custom pot rack by Jefferson Mack Metal make this as attractive as it is practical.


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