Apr 30, 2015

Room of the Week: Beebe Skidmore Architects

Category: Kitchen
Location: Seattle

Goal: Recent transplants from Cambridge, Massachusetts, the smart and creative owners of this vintage Capitol Hill home (she's an artist, he's a professor/inventor) needed to completely overhaul their run-down and outdated kitchen. The pair hired Beebe Skidmore Architects to design a well-thought-out new space that would accommodate the needs of all members of the family, including the couple's two teenage daughters.

"Maggie wanted her daughters to be able to do their homework or read in the kitchen while she was cooking—but also for everyone to be able to cook together," says architect Heidi Beebe. To fulfill the family’s requests, the firm designed a multi-level custom island for the space, combining a counter-height multi-functional workspace with a family-sized dining table that seats five.

Inspiration: The couple's largest inspiration came from a kitchen in one of their favorite films, Kiki's Delivery Service. The Japanese animation illustrates whimsical interpretations of European and Japanese residential design.

BreakdownExpanding the kitchen to take over part of a covered porch was the first task on the team's design agenda. After the architects achieved a larger footprint, they moved on to the selection of materials, which helped guide the rest of the design. The striking blue tile backsplash is reclaimed French cement bistro tile; its abstract flower motif in turn inspired the cabinet cutouts. "As an artist and a painter, Maggie is very attuned to the differences in color and material properties," explains Beebe. "We looked at lots of options for every material and debated the pros and cons and effects of every choice." They also sweated the details, resulting in a highly customized interior. The maple butcher block on the kitchen island has CNC-cut knife slots in the surface for the avid cooks, and every drawer and cupboard was thoughtfully planned out to maximize storage space.

Get the Look"Mix and match contemporary and antique materials without trying to overly feature any one material," Beebe advises. “Try to use integral materials to create dimensions instead of just applying them to surfaces."

Images courtesy of Beebe Skidmore Architects.

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