Cooking With A. Quincy Jones
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 3/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Built in the late 1940s in Brentwood, California, this landmark house by A. Quincy Jones had many fine qualities: wraparound clerestory windows, a cathedral ceiling, and the architect's trademark Douglas fir walls. A sunny disposition was not, however, among the interior's pluses—at least in the kitchen and dining area. A wall separating the two made them seem cramped. Moreover, Douglas fir tends to absorb light, and the kitchen's slate floor and plywood cabinetry had become dingy.
In pursuit of more open conditions that would still respect Jones's architecture, the owner of the house hired Gary Osborne of Bulthaup Los Angeles. The designer maximized natural illumination by maintaining a sliver of open space above the kitchen's interior wall and removing the wall separating the kitchen from the dining area. "Although this didn't greatly expand usable space, we gained just enough square inches to make it feel much roomier," he says.
A stainless-steel backsplash above the sink helps reflect light; storage and appliances are surfaced in a gray plastic laminate and maple paneling that complement the Douglas fir. Osborne replaced the slate floor with oak herringbone parquet to match the dining room's, enhancing continuity. Meanwhile, a U-shape Finnish birch plywood food-prep and dining peninsula, partially surfaced with stainless steel, preserves some separation between the two zones.
Tucked below, a glass-fronted wine-refrigeration unit with dual climate control places merlots and chardonnays within reach of the dining table. "In California," says Osborne, "there's such a level of wine sophistication that even people who aren't connoisseurs stock up."