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SAN DIEGO MAGAZINE
October 2009
Chef’s Choice
By Rowena Kelley

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Two remodeled kitchens prove you don’t have to give up flavor to embrace urban living

Culinary Romance

Romance leads to resolution, and that's how a downtown couple found a new culinary point of view for their kitchen atop the Harbor Club. Well-traveled with roots in San Diego, Germany and Mexico, they knew the quickest path to the heart starts with moments of intimacy and entertaining at home. With their kids now grown, they were eager to renovate their penthouse, particularly the existing kitchen, whose multilevel peninsula, inconsistent soffit heights and diagonal closet created claustrophobia for the cook.

“He asked for wine storage and home-cooked risotto,” says Lisa Wilson-Wirth, certified kitchen designer and president and owner of Arclinea San Diego. “And she insisted on storage improvements and elegant materials that speak to her love of European modernism and craftsmanship.”

They hired Wilson-Wirth to come up with an open kitchen plan exuding convenience and comfort while encouraging participation and connection. The new design would have to incorporate the home’s dramatic views. To meet these objectives, the kitchen was completely gutted and architectural changes made to the interior hallway and powder room. The result: an elegant and highly rational new kitchen, with cabinets that reflect stunning views of the urban landscape.

“The mirror-finish doors are sleek and luxurious and offer picture-perfect reflections of the home’s spectacular views,” says Wilson-Wirth. “From the sun setting over Point Loma each night to nighttime city lights, the kitchen comes to life with energy and light, constantly connected with the rhythms of urban family life.”

The highlight of the new space is Arclinea’s Solid Ray acrylic door panels in rich chestnut brown, accented with an integrated stainless steel handle. Door panels are fully recyclable and UV- and scratch-resistant. On the penin­sula, slabs of honed Pietra del Cardosa stone from Italy provide a counterbalance to the acrylic and steel—a sueded surface of cool blue-gray with subtle veining.

The beauty of the space is matched by its functionality. “In this urban kitchen, everything fits—tools are easily reached, and equipment is on hand where and how you need it,” Wilson-Wirth says.

Given the kitchen’s modest size—125 square feet—every cabinet and accessory was planned down to the smallest detail. A tall pantry, for instance, is outfitted with deep pull-out drawers; adjustable inserts were incorporated inside cabinets; and stainless steel toe-kicks feature hidden drawers. Kitchen appliances include two European ovens (one steam, one speed), an espresso system hidden in the ap­pliance garage, dishwasher, refrigerator-freezer and wine refrigerator. LED lighting ensures op­timal workability and energy efficiency, while a flat-screen television provides added entertainment.

Form and function combine beautifully in this penthouse kitch­en—a luxurious reflection of the per­fect marriage, and homage to the old Italian proverb, “Without food, without wine, love is nothing.”


 
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