KDC Q&A: Kristen Totah

November 7, 2013
KDC Q&A with Kristen Totah, Studio K Kitchens and Design


This is part of an ongoing series of posts in which we’ll take an in-depth look at the story behind the winning designs in our 2010-2012 Kitchen Design Contest.

Sub-Zero and Wolf: Who drove the inspiration for this design?
Kristen Totah: The client had some photos of really modern minimalist kitchens that she liked, and the question was how can we get this look in our home without it looking out of place.

SZW: What inspired it?
T: She has a contemporary European style

SZW: Was there an overarching theme to the design?
KT: We had to figure out a way to infuse some tropical or Asian influence to create a balance between the ‘Balinese’ styling of the house, and the contemporary styling that she wanted.

SZW: Why were the colors in this kitchen chosen? 
KT: The client wanted a white kitchen, but the house had dark Brazilian cherry floors and mahogany cabinetry throughout. We chose a Rosewood accent that brought in the colors from both of these existing woods, but in a more dramatic grain pattern. We used these to create the furniture style cabinet pieces that we integrated with the magnolia colored contemporary cabinets so the white wasn’t ‘harsh’… it was a creamy tone.

SZW: How were finishes chosen?
KT: The Magnolia cabinet fronts have a deep textural component to them, selected to soften the contemporary nature of the cabinetry.  The handles on the furniture pieces mimic this texture. Stainless steel was chosen for the countertops for its clean properties, and to get seamless integrated sinks. The Wenge eating table was selected for its quite grain as an accent that would not compete with the other woods.

SZW: Was there anything you or the client wanted to include in the kitchen, but couldn’t?
KT: It was what she wanted to exclude …. the TV! But her husband is in the sports media business, so the TV was an important element to their daily lives. Otherwise, she got everything on her wish list. She is an avid cook, so she wanted all the bells and whistles.

SZW: What’s your favorite part of the kitchen? 
KT: My favorite aspect of the kitchen is how we were able to integrate the appliances and storage so cleanly, and all the flush edges to the countertops. The installation is very crisp and it is part of the kitchen’s appeal: simple and clean, but dramatic.

SZW: What did you learn from this project that will help you most in future jobs?
KT: I never would have received the same results without excellent installers.

SZW: Tips for other designers?
KT: Good drawings and experienced installers are the key to a successful project.


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