For Krista and John Everage of Everage Design Inc., kitchens and baths provide some of the most challenging and satisfying components of a residential project. The Santa Monica-based couple has been creating timeless interiors for a sophisticated clientele since 1986 (including actor Dennis Quaid) and we’re delighted to say that they’ve been long-time clients of Snyder Diamond. Currently at work on a range of projects (including an outdoor kitchen for a 1920s Mediterranean-style home by architect AF Leicht), we asked Krista to share some of their experiences and, most importantly, to find out what clients want now—ideas you can use, too!
What are clients asking for in kitchen and bath design these days? Designs that are fresh and clean but still warm and inviting. They also want softly lit spaces that use dimmers and task lighting as needed, and they want very organized and highly functional rooms with the most high performance appliances available. La Cornue, BlueStar and Aga ranges come in gorgeous colors but stainless steel is still in demand, even for traditional kitchens. When traditional is called for, simple detailing is in vogue. White- or light-painted wood is more popular than medium or dark stains; bleached wood kitchens are back, along with cerused oak. We design mainly in California but in cooler climates very dark or even black-painted cabinetry is popular—it’s instant drama! Polished nickel is still popular for faucets in both modern and traditional schemes, and unlacquered brass that oxidizes over time is beautiful in traditional homes that call for an aged look. Quartzite or light marble counters (especially Calacatta gold!) are the most popular, with backsplashes of the same material or of a blending tile, like subway tile or an arabesque pattern. For kitchens, wood floors, simple beamed or tongue-and-groove ceilings (preferably vaulted with a steel skylight!) and big windows make a space inviting. For bathrooms, the floor can be a wonderful focus—a stone mosaic floor is a great start to a beautiful scheme.
How have clients’ desires changed over the last few years? They want even greater luxury and new technology! Green materials too, and more simplicity in styling, along with large walk-in showers and freestanding bathtubs.
If someone were looking to update their existing kitchen or bath, what are some of your recommendations… what items should they focus on, what's timeless, and what's the best splurge item? If the layout and cabinets are decent, we suggest a fresh coat of paint and sometimes replacing the doors and knobs. That way, the real money can be spent on all-new marble or quartz counters and new stainless appliances. Lighting is also fairly inexpensive and can greatly transform the feeling of the room.
Looking back over all the projects you've done, is there a particular or favorite project that really stands out in your memory? We recently did a major remodel of a Mediterranean home in Manhattan Beach. The kitchen was originally done in heavily distressed, redwood-stained wood with an orange-toned pine floor, dark-green granite counters with a vivid Mexican tile splash and bright lacquered-brass hardware. The lighting was 20-year-old technology with large, glaring bulbs. Needless to say, the client was ready for a big change! As the kitchen was open to the family and breakfast rooms, we wanted to create a light and bright feeling but with furniture that related to the nearby areas. Although an all-white kitchen scheme would have been a welcome change, we felt it would be too jarring to meld into the open living space. To make it all work, we bleached and weathered the pine floors throughout, redid all of the lighting and added interesting pendants above the island and spot lights under the upper cabinets to light work surfaces—warm light, not fluorescents! We designed a simple cabinet style with state of the art stainless steel appliances from Synder Diamond. For the perimeter cabinets, we developed a furniture finish that involved a five-layer process of blues and warm greys. Glass doors keep the cabinets airy and we designed the island like furniture, constructing it of walnut and then triple bleaching it with a light distressing. All the counters and backsplashes are in Calacatta marble. Adjacent to the kitchen entrance is an 18th-century French arched gate—we added antiqued mirror glass to the back to reflect the garden into the space, and to create an architectural element. For an added touch, we repurposed antique mortars as planters on the island and at the sink window.
Let's imagine you're redoing your own kitchen or bath and pulling out all the stops—what would be some of your dream appliances or fixtures? Our dream kitchen would of course begin with our dream architecture… a space large enough for an island and open to a breakfast or garden room with steel French doors, windows and a skylight with whitewashed vaulted and beamed ceilings. We would feature True glass-front refrigerators and under-counter beverage centers, Miele dishwashers, a Woodstone pizza oven and a beautiful La Cornue or Bonnet range in a rich color (blue!) with swanky metal accents.
All images courtesy of Everage Design, Inc.