Home & Garden

A kitchen that inspires by showing good design

The window seat is custom-upholstered in this French country kitchen showroom.
The window seat is custom-upholstered in this French country kitchen showroom.

Don and Lee Anna O’Daniel know a thing or two about kitchen remodels — in part because they have undergone their own. After four years of work and wait, the couple has finally opened the newly-expanded showroom for their business, San Luis Kitchen Company.

The Cal Poly architecture grads started their business 28 years ago. They acquired their fifth location in 2007, an empty 5,000-square-foot building on Broad Street.

“We worked feverishly to open the first phase, which featured the more affordable side of San Luis Kitchen Company with four complete kitchens and two accessible bathrooms,” said Lee Anna.

That first phase occupied a mere 1,500-square-foot slice of the space. Plans for the rest of the building, the “architectural side” of the business, stalled due to the economy, but the O’Daniels found a silver lining.

“We used the extra time to refine our designs and make sure our selections would still be cutting edge,” said Lee Anna. “Many of the materials and finishes that we have incorporated didn’t even exist at the time we started.”

For inspiration, they traveled to top kitchen showrooms in major cities but didn’t find what they were after. So instead, they looked to establishments like Disneyland and Caesar’s Palace to learn about creating ambience, a sense of place, and an element of fantasy.

Don, who is a general contractor with a keen eye for detail, worked alongside other local artisans to create an additional four kitchens, three offices and a conference room. Two of the kitchens are fully functional.

The level of architectural detail is impressive, down to the wood beam ceilings in the European Heritage kitchen, the window seat with custom upholstery in the French Country kitchen, and hand-hammered copper bar and Mission-style parapet walls in the Tuscan kitchen. Even the bathrooms were designed as showcases: one is traditional, one modern.

Although San Luis Kitchen Company designs and coordinates all aspects of kitchen design, custom cabinets are their specialty. The elegant French Country kitchen features offwhite hand-distressed cabinetry. A row of cabinets in the Tuscan kitchen uses three different wood species to create an Old World look of furniture assembled over many years. The modern Urban Matrix kitchen has lighted lift-up doors and a mix of materials: burgundy stain on rift cut oak and black laminate with aluminum edge banding.

Exploring each vignette offers a wealth of ideas. Pull open a drawer or cabinet to reveal innovative storage options. There are specialized appliances, such as drawer-style refrigerators and a magnetic induction cooktop. There are even wheelchair-accessible features in the modern kitchen.

The O’Daniels have added a few details just for their “wow” factor. The modern kitchen sports a futuristic floor made of concrete embedded with glass and rock and lit with a sprinkling of fiber-optic lights that glow in a sequence of colors. The French Country kitchen has completely concealed appliances, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator clad in cabinetry to make it look like an enormous armoire.

Local chef Debbie Dougan was so enamored of the showroom that she now teaches her Central Coast Culinary cooking classes there. There are also free kitchen seminars every third Saturday of the month.

For an event schedule or for more information on San Luis Kitchen Company, visit http://www.sanluiskitchen.com. The showroom is at 3598 Broad St. in San Luis Obispo, 541-7117.