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