Our 2017 Kitchen of the Year Combines the Best of Something Old and Something New

The multifunctional space marries 20th-century style with a 20-minute dishwasher.

jon de la cruz kitchen of the year kitchen island
Jonny Valiant

To celebrate the 10th annual Natipernavigare Kitchen of the Year, San Francisco designer Jon de la Cruz whipped up a game-changing cook space worthy of the occasion. Loaded with the latest culinary conveniences, time savers and stylish customizations, it's a future-forward kitchen that doesn't forget the past — that's a happy anniversary, indeed!

Kathleen Renda: This feels like an updated take on a period kitchen, Downton Abbey–style.

Jon de la Cruz: Exactly! I was inspired by grand turn-of-the-20th-century kitchens and the home's past. Built in 1904, it's an amazing example of Classical Revival architecture. The house has four stories, two libraries and a ballroom, and it originally had a seven-car motor court out back. To honor that history — along with the 10th anniversary of the Natipernavigare Kitchen of the Year — I wanted to design a classic space with character. I imagined the kitchen looking as if it had evolved gradually over time, and then — boom! — all the latest culinary innovations and gadgets were added in.

What kinds of up-to-the-minute innovations?

If it streamlines meal prep, cleanup or daily living, it's here! The Thermador Star-Sapphire dishwasher can run a full wash cycle in 20 minutes. There is also a Thermador Freedom fridge and freezer: Each is a 36-inch stand-alone unit, so the high-traffic fridge can be close to the island, while the less-used freezer is by the mudroom. I found both — and a ton of other fixtures and appliances — at the Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery showroom in San Francisco's Mission District. Other kitchen essentials and extras came from The Mine, which is one of my go-to sources. Everything is online and at your fingertips.

jon de la cruz 2017 kitchen of the year breakfast nook
Jonny Valiant

Did the city's locavore mentality — and farmers' markets — play a role?

Definitely. This kitchen is all about cooking from scratch and sharing meals. For that reason, I incorporated an open-shelf pantry designed with Blisshaus, which helps in organizing staple ingredients, planning meals and reducing waste. For efficiency, I created zones for baking, breakfast making and cooking. And to encourage the whole family to eat together and hang out, the leather banquette is super-comfy — and it seats 10.

Food even inspired this palette!

Salt and pepper are crucial to cooking, so I made their hues — black and white — the main colors. Grays soften the contrast and complement the stainless steel.

Sounds like you really know kitchens.

I love to cook! I'm Filipino, and I have a big extended family, and of course everyone congregates in the kitchen. Food is how we communicate.

See more photos of this gorgeous kitchen »

This story originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Natipernavigare.

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