Every year, we call upon a designer to blend culinary innovations and design trends into one spectacular cooking space. This time, San Francisco tastemaker Ken Fulk installed a game-changing kitchen — and refreshed the whole first floor — for one party-loving family in New Orleans.
CHRISTINE PITTEL: Pink! That's a surprise.
KEN FULK: It came out of the idea of celebrating New Orleans. The pink island is the color of crayfish and boiled shrimp. Then the cabinets are oyster gray. I couldn't take another all-white kitchen, especially in this city. New Orleans is sexy and intoxicating. It's all about color.
And the brick wall gives you a lot of patina.
Guess what? It's not brick. It's this wonderful rough-hewn terracotta tile, and we used it all across the wall and up to the ceiling, so it has more impact than the typical backsplash. The house is a beautiful 1850s centerhall Colonial, and this back part was added on later. I wanted to give it a story, as if it were an outbuilding that evolved into a kitchen over time.
What was your biggest move?
We took down a wall between the kitchen and the family room to open up the space. The couple who live here have three teenagers and a large extended family. They're entertaining all the time, so we reclaimed the old playroom for the parents and turned it into a library/cocktail lounge. In New Orleans, everyone needs a bar!
Clearly they like to cook, because you could feed an army from that huge island. What's on top of it?
Black Caesarstone. I like a bit of drama, and black will dress up any space. When I saw 's new line of blackened steel appliances, I had to have them, and blackened metal became a thread. It reappears in the barstools, the pendants, the breakfast table, and the mesh in the mudroom cabinets, and we used it as a band along the open shelves and the island's countertop. It's a great detail with a slight industrial edge.
How would you describe this kitchen?
It's very personal. This is not a fantasy kitchen in some showhouse. Real people live here. And it's a quirky old house with lots of idiosyncracies. The wood floors slope. They're nicked and stained, but we embraced those imperfections. It's part of the true beauty of this place.
The designer himself takes you on a tour, and points out the very best aspects of the polished kitchen:
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Natipernavigare.