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No longer an "afterthought" kitchen.

They built on the bold original character and added space for entertaining and storage

Push came to shove in this kitchen expansion. Before, the kitchen was a narrow galley with meager storage space and a breakfast counter that partially blocked a window, It felt impossibly cramped. Incongruously enough, it stood at one end of a dramatic living room with a sloping, overscaled beam ceiling, enormous windows, and sweeping west-facing views of San Francisco Bay.

The house's original owner-designer-builder, an architectural maverick inspired by the tradition of Bernard Maybeck, had concentrated on that living room and treated the kitchen as an apparent afterthought. The new owners wanted more space for eating, relaxing, and informal entertaining. But theyfelt that any addition should relate to the house's robust character.

San Francisco architect Mark Mack took up the challenge. He pushed the kitchen's south wall out 15 feet to tbe edge of the patio, raised the ceiling 4 feet, and changed the roles of the walls and ceiling, turning them into sculptural elements linking the addition with the existing house. He organized the kitchen into three zones: a cooking area focused around an island on the north end, a dining area at the center (opposite a new fireplace), and a family room at the south-opening, through French doors, to a new wood deck. This deck covers the remainder of the patio and cantilevers 7-1/2 feet out over a steep slope, looking west toward the view.

The sloping open-beam ceiling over the dining area and family room helps distinguish these two zones from the food-preparation area, which has a slightly lower, smooth ceiling. In the kitchen proper, a concrete partition serves as backsplash and as the wall behind the range. It and the exposed beams echo characteristics of the adjacent existing living room. To tie the remodeled space's three "zones" together, Mack placed a continuous wall of color-stained cabinets that taper downward along the east side of the room. Bright stains play up bold spirit

A colored wall of built-in storage links this kitchen and family room visually. Custom finisher Hugh Fite of Oakland did the staining. For consistency, the same stain palette was used on new cabinetry throughout tbe house.

Fite's technique is not very different from conventional furniture staining--but you mix sstains using universal pigments (sold at paint stores) and mineral spirits as solvent. Because this mixture contains no hardeners or drying agents, surfaces must be sealed with a sprayed-on finish.

These colors work best on boldly figured woods such as the ash used above. Sand all surfaces to uniform smoothness. (Even subtle planing marks can cause a striped effect when stain is applied.) Sand scraps of the same wood to test color.

In a well-ventilated space, mix pigments with solvent to get the color intensity you want. Experiment with proportions, adding white to lighten darker pigments such as blue. To test color, wipe onto wood scraps with an absorbent cotton cloth.

Use a fresh cloth to wipe stain evenly over the cabinets' surface; you may need a brush for hard-to-reach-spots. With rags, wipe off excess pigment until color density looks right. (Remember: sealed finish will be slightly darker and a little amber.) To ensure uniform color and density, stain adjoining panels at the same time.

Let wood ,dry overnight so solvent evaporates. Mr. Fite uses the sniff test: when he no longer smells solvent, the surface is likely dry enough. To fix the stain, spray on a thin coat of clear semigloss lacquer or polyurethane. Brushing or overspraying can cause the stain to run. When dry, lightly sand all surfaces again. Wipe away dust, then touch up any glitches using the original stain. Let touchups sit overnight, then spray on final coat of lacquer or polyurethane.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Mar 1, 1989
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