Magazine article Sunset

A Kitchen Is Reborn

Magazine article Sunset

A Kitchen Is Reborn

Article excerpt

Finding serenity between rocks and a hard place

BLOODHOUNDS AND bohemians alike feel at home in this remodeled kitchen. It's outdoor-oriented and urbane, informal yet elegant: a literary haven and a gardener's delight. Once sunk in obscurity at the rear of the house, it has become center stage.

Wedged between the dining room and a 6-foot-high retaining wall at the bottom of a severe uphill slope, the original kitchen was cramped, poorly lit, and cut off from the rest of the house. The owner turned to San Francisco architect Heidi Richardson for help.

Richardson expanded the kitchen by borrowing space from a small adjacent patio. She solved the daylighting problem when she discovered that the ceiling was high enough to allow the kitchen floor to be raised by 2 feet. This extra height, combined with the removal of the retaining wall's top stone course, allowed a generous band of windows along the kitchen's south- and west-facing walls. Richardson set the windows just above the counter to provide maximum daylight and to open up views of the slope from the kitchen's major work areas. With plants at eye level, the kitchen feels like a greenhouse at the bottom of a garden. …

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