Michael Webb -- Interior Design, 4/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
As the old saying goes, it's the shoemaker's children who go barefoot. And in the world of interiors, it's the designer's spouse who waits and waits for a renovation. Troy Adams promised his wife, Lisa, that he'd need only two months to complete her dream kitchen, a place where the two passionate cooks could spend hours experimenting with wok-cooking and perfecting dishes, such as chicken curry or Thai garlic beef. But the high standards of his work for clients proved more difficult to shoehorn into the couple's own West Hollywood house—not to mention their limited budget.
"I did everything myself on weekends," Adams says. "And I got a bit carried away."
In the kitchens of affluent clients, Troy Adams Design spares no expense combining American, European, and Asian elements, such as a shoji-style doors with contemporary German cabinetry. The firm also makes detailed plans and hands off the fabrication to contractors. By comparison, the Adamses' own 225-square-foot project required a do-it-yourself approach.
Among other thrifty measures, Adams incorporated pieces leftover from previous commissions. A sculptural-steel hood that was curved the wrong way for a kitchen on the island of Oahu was perfect for the couple's stainless-steel range. Originally earmarked for a house in Honolulu, a cylindrical cabinet with a curved, sliding door and rotating shelves became a corner pantry.
And unlike in so many other kitchens, where cabinets, appliances, and counters are obsessively matched, Adams compiled an anthology of materials.
Sliding doors of wengé-framed frosted glass conceal a washer and dryer. Stainless-steel work surfaces flank gas rings and an electric-contact grill. A soapstone sink surround tops cabinetry that is fronted in back-painted glass. Alongside sliding glass doors leading to a patio, the floor shifts from vertical-grain bamboo to slate tile.
Disparate materials live in greatest harmony in the tripartite kitchen island. One end is a breakfast table topped by gray-green soapstone and sealed with mineral oil for luster. Next, comes a storage-prep unit veneered in stacked, rift-cut wengé and topped by lava-enameled iron. It was fired at 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit for a vibrant red surface that resists heat and scratches. (Specks of black iron are visible through the faintly crackled glaze.) Last in line is a maple butcher's block. Bolted bases of stainless steel tie the three segments together, and the chunky ensemble plays off of a slender serpentine lighting track above.
The Adamses often slide back the kitchen's glass pocket doors and carry dishes of food out to a pool patio built into the hillside that rises behind their 1950's house. A split-bamboo fence lends privacy on two sides; a clear, acrylic canopy stretched over a trellis protects against the occasional rain shower. Seated on cushions placed directly on the multi-toned slate pavers, guests can gather around a low, square table of honed granite. Not even here, though, can the Adamses leave cooking entirely behind. Built into the table's center is a gas-fired teppanyaki grill.