Thursday, February 9, 2012

Just a little something I'm whipping up....

Before Pic Kitchen

For the past few months, I've been working on restoring/updating a mid century modern gem in Santa Monica. My client, who is quite an expert on this period, emphasized that he would like to be as authentically mid century as possible while including elements from 21st century modern design to keep the function and appeal current.   Although the project will not be complete for another 6-8 weeks, I wanted to share some of the before pics and 3D images of my proposed designs.  In a few months I will post the finished product.  At left, you see a before photo of the kitchen - below, the proposed:

3D Kitchen

Before Pic: Patio

3D Patio

3D Patio 2


                     Pedestrian Gate Before and 3D                                        

Stay tuned for the Sunken Living Room, Master Bath, Guest Bath and Powder Room

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Bertazzoni Wall Ovens and Cooktops

Dwell Kitchen »

Paolo and Valentina Bertazzoni

This week, Italian kitchen appliance manufacturer Bertazzoni introduced its new line of built-in ovens designed for the U.S. market and unveiled its newest cooktops as well. We sat down with Paolo Bertazzoni, the company's CEO and a fifth-generation Bertazzoni family leader, and his daughter Valentina Bertazzoni, an architect by training and the company's U.S. brand manager, at the Purcell Murray showroom in Brisbane, California, just south of San Francisco and the Dwell headquarters. Here, they share their thoughts on the differences between the Italian and American markets, how they arrived at these new designs, and how the built-in ovens' interfaces can help you make the perfect meal (and then do it again later).
  • Published on: 05/11/2011
Bertazzoni Built in Professional Oven in situ
What differences between the Italian kitchen and the American kitchen did you have to consider when you launched Bertazzoni in the U.S. in 2005?
Paolo: We had the choice to adapt 100 percent to the American market or keep the Italian-made process and European soul of the company intact. We went with our gut and chose the latter. We knew we had to do modifications so we went into U.S. showrooms and even into their employees' homes to see what was different. In Europe, we live one on top of another so we have smaller houses and smaller appliances. In the U.S., everything is larger.
Was it just size or were there any other unique features about the U.S. market to consider?
Paolo: We found that Americans really value their kitchen appliances, more than we expected, so we were able to give them more features, make the products more robust. We’ve actually taken some of that robustness back to the European market.
You’ve just launched the Bertazzoni built-in ovens in the U.S. How did you get to the final looks of the Professional and Design series?
Valentina: We wanted to have a very Bertazzoni product and a very Italian product. As the brand manager, I oversaw how the brand values fit into the products from design to launch. We put together a group who created models, and then we filled one big table with all these different styles for different types of end users. We decided in the end to limit it to two lines that can blend together to serve all clients.
The Design Series oven, created in collaboration with Italian designer Stefano Giovannoni, features a sleek facade and a glass handle that's meant to disappear into the design.
You worked with Italian designer Stefano Giovannoni. Why did you select him?
Valentina: I met eight designers, and he was the one with the same philosophy and same values of innovation, balance, and timelessness that Bertazzoni has. The design shouldn’t tell if it’s from the 80s or 90s or 2000s; it should be timeless.
Tell us about the interface design of these ovens.
Valentina: When we were designing the screen and software, which is all proprietary to Bertazzoni, it (1) had to be user-friendly (we didn’t want the customer to have to read some big manual to use it) and (2) had to have a modern look. Everyone knows what an iPod is and how to use it, and we wanted this to be very simple and very 2011 in a similar way; it’s very intuitive. We met with suppliers who showed us different systems. One had a USB connector so you could display your photos on the screen. Why do you need to look at photos while you’re cooking?! We develop ovens for cooking. In two clicks—by selecting the mode and the temperature—you’re making a meal.
The digital interface features all the requisite features (bake, convection bake, and so on) as well as Bertazzoni's Assistant feature, which lets you select what you're cooking and how you'd like it done and then lets the oven take over from there.
What if you want to get a little fancy, are there functions for that?
Valentina: We’d seen systems that had 50 recipes and 75 recipes so we asked Italian chef Roberto Carcangiu, who we worked with, to develop 100 recipes for our interface. He objected, saying that cooks go by food category and desired results and that a list of recipes wouldn't be helpful. So, as a result, you can go to the Assistant feature and pick, let’s say, meat. You can select how to cook it—roasting, braising, oven frying—and then you pick the quantity of meat you’re making, the tenderness of the cut, and the desired doneness. It starts preheating and you put the food probe in and put the meat in the oven and then the oven takes over and let’s you know when it’s finished. If you want to cook manually, though, and say you make a really great roast or a cake everyone talks about, you can save the last cooking sequence and name it for later so you don’t have to remember exactly what settings you used.
Also new this spring is the segmented cooktop, which features one cutout (so it's easy to clean) but with up to three different panels (like the gas range, griddle, and induction cooktop).
The new built-in ovens and newest cooktops arrive on U.S. soil this month. For more, visit

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why Use a Kitchen Designer?

When remodeling an existing or building a new kitchen, people often think that their custom cabinet builder, general contractor or interior designer will be able to take care of the kitchen design as a part of their fee.  While they do know much about their respective fields, the kitchen designer will scrutinize every detail down to the 16th of an inch preventing many problems that could later end up costing more money and more time.  The kitchen designer is critical to the remodeling process and will ensure that you end up with a well planned and highly functional space.  It is important to create layouts that encourage comfortable interaction, balancing congregation and separation, ensuring that the host can cook, clean and socialize with ease. 
The kitchen design process is very complex and there is much to think about when planning the space.  When the client is overwhelmed with the appliance, cabinet, countertop and finish choices, the kitchen designer knows the current trends, new products and specific manufacturer details and can narrow down the endless choices to suit your daily lifestyle and aesthetic.  Considering that the kitchen is key to the home’s resale value, why not take advantage of the designer's experience and leave the minute details to an expert?  Natalie Epstein is that specialist, and her knowledge and creativity will guarantee a drop-dead-gorgeous kitchen or bath. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Going Green Using Custom Cabinets

With over 1,000,000 Google entries for custom cabinets in Los Angeles alone, it isn't difficult to find someone to build the cabinets for your kitchen.   But finding one that uses sustainable practices in their production process, is another story.  Natalie Epstein Design has found such a company and recommends them to all clients wishing to use a custom product.  While most of the cabinet lines that Natalie represents are green, they don't always offer just the right species, color or finish that a client is looking for.  However, custom cabinetry can offer endless combinations, and in addition to the highest quality craftsmanship, here are some of the eco-friendly practices this company uses:
  • Manufacturing facility is located within 200 miles of Los Angeles and uses less energy in transporting the cabinets.
  • Use of low or no VOC finishes and adhesives, emitting less than 0.18ppm formaldehyde emissions.
  • Meet CARB (California Air Resources Board) requirements
  • Sawdust donated to an ecological reserve where it is mixed with soil
  • Use FSC certified lumber (legally harvested using sustainable forestry practices)
Not only do these practices help to protect our environment, but your health is a concern as well.  There is mounting evidence that chemicals used in the production process contain carcinogens, toxins, neurotoxins, skin irritants and have a direct effect on the eyes, lungs, kidneys and other organs.  This is your opportunity to protect the health of your family and friends while making a contribution to our environment.

For the updated and easier to navigate site, go to .  Learn more about the design, bidding and installation services as well as, product offerings and new project photos.