CLAIRE DESCRIBES HERSELF AS SOMETHING OF A TRADITIONALIST, so when she and her husband, Mark, thought about sprucing up their kitchen, which Claire describes as “needing some TLC,” she wasn’t envisioning the gleaming, highly functioning modern marvel of a kitchen they have now.
But then one day she was shopping for flooring at Reed Interiors in Carpinteria and saw the showcase kitchen that was being built to spotlight Reed’s new kitchen-design division. Spearheaded by Michel Clair, who had recently arrived in the U.S. after 25 years of designing in France, the new arm of the company takes its cue from the exciting European trend of reworking outdated interiors of historic buildings to embrace contemporary design and functionality.
“I fell in love with that kitchen,” Claire recalls. “I saw the Armony cabinets, with their clean lines and beautiful glossy finish, and had to have them.” And so Claire, who liked modern design but could not see how to incorporate it without a room becoming cold or austere, found herself jettisoning the traditional in favor of the sleek, the clean, the contemporary.
But she and Mark still had doubts.
“We wondered if it would be too modern,” Claire recalls. “I needed an expert, and in Michel Clair and [Reed owners] Romain and Myriam Doussineau, I found them. The lines are cleaner now. The room is more open and wonderful to cook in. This kitchen fits the house, and everyone who sees it loves it.”
The job was completed without removing any of the now-white walls, which nearly match the bone-colored lacquer cabinets that line one wall and support the island, which contains a 1.5-size Wolf oven and an 8-burner stovetop. Drawers and cabinets feature built-in cutouts
Reed’s European sensibility infuses this super-functional modern kitchen (clockwise from left): off-white Armony lacquer cabinets with slotted pulls and brushed stainless steel trim flank a full Viking oven, another half-oven, and an 8-burner stove; a clean, inviting, well-lit space; knotty-oak veneers cover a trio of Gaggenau cooling units, and a suspended hood with recessed LED lighting hovers like a minimalist sculpture.
to keep every utensil, pot and pan in place. Recessed ceiling lighting is supplemented by additional lighting, such as that in the brushed stainless steel hood, which is suspended from the ceiling by four steel rods. All the cabinets have brushed stainless steel counter tops, corner bumpers, backsplashes and kick plates. A dark-brown plank floor from Reed provides a striking contrast and links the kitchen to the rest of the house.
At one end of the kitchen, warm, knotty-oak cabinetry hides a gaggle of Gaggenau chilling devices: a refrigerator, a freezer and a wine cooler. A rectangular knotty-oak dining counter fronted by black-cushioned stools defines the kitchen’s boundary at the other end of the room.
“I like a cool, simple aesthetic, and I don’t like clutter,” says Claire. “So I said just go. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.”
Spoken like a true modernist.
MICHEL CLAIR DESIGN
CHANTAL HASSE PHOTOGRAPHY
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