L.A. at Home

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Category: Kitchen

Dwell on Design 2012: Modern fun this weekend

Play Modern

Kohler colored sinksIt's time to play: Dwell on Design, the annual expo of furniture, fixtures and finishes for the modern home and garden, is running this weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Staff writer Lisa Boone and producer Dianne de Guzman walked the convention floor on Friday to get some early impressions.

They found Misha Tome sliding down the Cuba playhouse by Play Modern, above. The modular system consists of cubes that can be configured in different BeSpoke consoleways. Indoor models are made from Baltic birch plywood with a clear finish, and outdoor models are made from marine-grade plywood with a dark finish.

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Above right: Lori Erenberg, left, and Saehee Simmons looked at color samples for Kohler's new sinks in a range of bold hues.

Below right: The BeSpoke Creative console throws some curves, with a sleek white exterior complemented by maple and birch plywood interior.

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Dream kitchen: William Hefner design clicks with Houzz readers

The hot kitchen look of the moment belongs to Studio William Hefner, whose design for a Hancock Park house is the most popular on the shelter site Houzz.com
Who's got the fairest kitchen of all? Houzz.com offers one way of seeing the aspirational look of the moment -- the most envy-inducing arrangement of countertops, cabinets and bling. The Houzz website and app, which allow architects and interior designers to upload images of their work, operate like a dating site where homeowners can play the field a bit and see what strikes their design fancy before committing to a remodeling or building project. When readers see something they like, they can save images to a personal "ideabook" that lives on the site. It's the decorating equivalent of a "like" to that impossibly cute cat photo on Facebook.

More than 75,000 design professionals have uploaded almost half a million images to the site since it was founded three years ago. And the Hancock Park house pictured here, designed by Studio William Hefner, is winning the popularity contest for kitchens hands down. It has been added to more than 19,000 ideabooks.

Hefner, a Los Angeles architect, said the success of this kitchen -- which reads like a classic French country kitchen with a glam makeover -- has been nothing short of overwhelming.

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Casual and bustling is just perfect for the Armistead family

Shelley, left, Isaac and Matthew Armistead at home in their kitchenNothing is perfect in Matthew and Shelley Armistead’s kitchen — which, in their case, is just perfect. The glass-fronted cupboards have a mishmash of glasses and Champagne flutes, vintage egg cups, a Superman mug, African tea cups and Beatrix Potter oatmeal bowls from Shelley’s childhood. The counters are covered in fresh produce and dishes in progress, some of them trials for Soho House, the private club in West Hollywood where Matthew is chef and Shelley is general manager. Friends and colleagues drop in. The couple’s two little boys wander in and out. The scene is the essence of casual and cool — perfect because it’s not entirely perfect.

Cans painted with religious icons serve as planters for fresh herbs at the Armistead homeIn the three years the Armisteads have been in Los Angeles, they have had three homes, finally settling in Mar Vista in a house with a light-filled kitchen with five windows that open onto the backyard. The yard, kitchen and adjacent dining area are the home’s heart.

PHOTO GALLERY: The Armisteads at home

“We have this big house and we never use it. We’re always in here,” says Matthew, 40, a former furniture maker who started cooking as a way to fund a skiing habit.

“Just messing around in the kitchen, that’s what I love. You can literally just do something you’ve never done before.”

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Out of the Box Collective gourmet food delivery

Armistead5Wednesday is food shopping day for Shelley and Matthew Armistead, but they don’t have to leave the house. Groceries come to them from farmers and small producers whose products are gathered and delivered by Out of the Box Collective.

On one recent day, the Armisteads’ family plan included salmon and pork, almonds, eggs that were pale blue and brown, three kinds of berries and olive oil. (That's Matthew, chef at Soho House in West Hollywood, unpacking a box as Shelley looks on.)

“We work so many hours, I don’t want to spend my time in Whole Foods when I can be with the kids,” says Shelley, Soho House's general manager. 

Armistead2Jennifer Piette, who lives in Malibu, founded Out of the Box about a year ago. Subscribers get weekly deliveries of produce from the Santa Barbara farmers market, plus other foods from the region, a meal plan and recipes.

A box meant for a couple ($160) would include food for five meals, plus fruit and extras such as eggs and fair-trade chocolate or spices. A family box ($195) is meant for four people. Other combinations cater to vegetarians, people with allergies and those who don’t cook much. (At left, some greens on a cutting board.)

“When you have kids opening this box, they’re getting this food literacy,” Piette says. “They’re seeing a cherimoya. They’re seeing that a peach comes in summer and citrus in winter.”

Delivery areas are listed by ZIP Code.

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-- Mary MacVean

Photos by Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.


TableArt to hold sale before store moves

Nuove Forme bottlesTableArt, the Bentley of the dinnerware and cutlery world, is parking itself in a larger L.A. space later this month. One upshot for shoppers: a moving sale from Thursday to March 23, when select stock will be discounted up to 80%. Sale items include the Nuove Forme ceramic bottles, shown above, originally $95, now $38 apiece; NasonMoretti mouth-blown Murano crystal vases, originally $70, now $35; handmade glasses from the British manufacturer LSA, originally $10 to $17, now $4 to $6.80; and French manufacturer Joelle Fevre’s vessels with the silhouette of bamboo rendered in bisque porcelain, originally $245 to $845, now $122.50 to $422.50.

TableArt’s new location, at 8024 Melrose Ave., will be 1,000 square feet larger, with expanded product lines and some West Coast exclusives. The sale will be held in the existing location, 7977 Melrose Ave., and not on its website. (323) 653-8278.

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-- Lisa Boone

Photo credit: TableArt


Clifford Wright's kitchen: worldly, with a dash of Three Stooges

Clifford A. Wright
Clifford A. Wright is an earnest culinary scholar who has worked at the Institute of Arab Studies and has written 14 books. His kitchen is a history of his travels. But over his kitchen sink hangs a Franklin Mint plate on which Larry, Curly and Moe, wearing chef’s jackets, are about to get to work on a turkey.

Wright takes food seriously, with a dash of Three Stooges demeanor.

Three Stooges plateA careful look around reveals charm and humor again and again. As he puts it: He is a scholar who writes for people who watch their happiness before their weight.

The author of the classic “A Mediterranean Feast” was testing recipes one recent morning: Frittata‘i Rosa Marina (eggs and smelt) and Chiculliata (a salad of tuna, capers, anchovies, olives and chile). He has thousands of tested, unpublished recipes in his files and two new books — “Hot & Cheesy,” released this month, and “One-Pot Cookery” due out in 2013.

Wright, who worked for years at think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and the Institute of Arab Studies, found his way to culinary scholarship combined with good food on many journeys; the mementos fill the galley kitchen and adjacent dining area of his house in Santa Monica, where he moved in 1996, just a few blocks from the Pacific.

Coming up the stairs and into the room, rows of colorful plates on three sturdy shelves grab the eye. There are a few, from France, where Wright lived as a child. Others come from Sicily, the subject of one of his cookbooks; still others from Turkey. And that institutional-style white one decorated with a pineapple? That came from the Encyclopedia Britannica cafeteria in Chicago, where Wright held his first job, as a proofreader.

“So I stole it,” he says.

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Foundry chef Eric Greenspan's home kitchen

Chef Eric Greenspan and his fiancée, Jamie Molever
Chef Eric Greenspan and his fiancée, Jamie Molever, share the kitchen of the future.

More accurately, the kitchen of their future. In the present, it gets used just about never.

“This was the first apartment that I even looked at the kitchen,” says Greenspan, the chef at the Foundry on Melrose and the Roof on Wilshire, in the boutique Hotel Wilshire. In previous places, his feeling toward the kitchen was: “Who cares?”

This time, he cares. He and Molever, above, are getting married this spring in Palm Springs, and they plan to have children. When they do, they plan for the kitchen to be a center of their home.

So two years ago, when they moved into the apartment just south of Melrose, they made sure the kitchen would suit. What Greenspan likes is the plentiful granite counter space, including a bar that looks into the dining area, counters on both sides of the stove and the double stainless steel sink.

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Chef Suzanne Tracht comes home to a cozy kitchen

Suzanne-Tracht-home-kitchenChef Suzanne Tracht is quietly elegant; her teenage daughter is beautiful and casually fashionable in black leggings. Their kitchen? Kind of like grandma's house — and that's just how they like it.

Tracht doesn't want to spend her off hours in a modern, stainless-steel kitchen that feels like the kitchens at her restaurant, the Beverly Boulevard chophouse Jar. “I don't want to come home from work and see that,” she says.

The atmosphere was set when she moved to the house in Beverlywood about a decade ago. Her friend, the artist Jill Young-Manson, painted a still life of pretty pink and yellow flowers in a pale blue vase near two blue teapots.

“It's done on the back of a grocery bag,” Tracht says. “It was the first thing I put up in the house.”

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The Keurig question: What to do with those used coffee cartridges? [Updated]

CoffeeIf you received a one-cup coffee maker — or a box of coffee for one — as a Christmas gift, by now you likely have brewed through and tossed out plenty of those little capsules, and perhaps you’ve started to wonder about the environmental impact and the value of convenience.

Turns out that many people have opted for that convenience: In the 12 months ending in November, nearly 46% of the dollars going toward the purchase of coffee or espresso makers went to single-serve machines, according to NPD Group, a market research firm.

Keurig, a major player in the one-cup coffee business, reports that research it commissioned indicated that 13% of all U.S. offices have one of its brewers.

The company confronts the green issue head-on, saying on its website: “As the single-cup coffee market and our Keurig brewing systems grow in popularity, we understand that the impact of the K-Cup portion pack waste stream is one of our most significant environmental challenges.”

The K-cup coffee and tea cartridges are difficult to recycle because they are made of three materials: a plastic cup, which is lined with a heat-sealed paper filter, plus a polyethylene-coated aluminum foil top. Keurig says the packaging keeps coffee fresh, but the cartridges are not biodegradable.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has reported that 9 billion cartridges have been sold. Keurig said it doesn’t make that information public, but it did say sales of K-Cups more than doubled in 2011 over 2010.

“Finding a more environmentally friendly approach to this packaging challenge is a big priority for us,” Keurig said on its website. “We are working on a few different fronts to improve the environmental characteristics of the K-Cup system.” The company encourages consumers to put used tea and coffee grounds into a composter.

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Celestino Drago's haven at home, his backyard kitchen

Celestino Drago beehive
Walk in the front door of chef Celestino Drago's Sherman Oaks home, through the soaring foyer and the wide-open designer kitchen and out the back door, and you might think you've shape-shifted your way to the Italian countryside.

Celestino Drago pizza“The best thing for me is when it's Sunday and I am here with the kids in the garden, picking what I want to go and cook,” says the chef, whose restaurant Drago Santa Monica just celebrated its 20th anniversary. That could mean a simple pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil. Or vegetables to grill with chicken or fish.

PHOTO GALLERY: Drago's backyard kitchen

Drago seems fairly indifferent to his indoor kitchen, though it's the sort of room that agents use to sell a house. “To be honest, we don't use the one in the house much,” he says.

No wonder. Outdoors, he has a huge beehive-shaped wood-burning oven, a massive dining table and everything else necessary for cooking and eating. Drago can look out, past the pool, to the hills. Or he can sit and watch one of two flat screens set high on walls at either end of the long, rectangular, open-sided room.

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