What is it that compels people to leave their plush couches and gather around a kitchen island? Can a well-designed kitchen actually transform meal prep from drudgery to a zen-like ritual? Seven Cambria kitchens aspire to answer these questions. They are stops on the upcoming Great Kitchens of Cambria Tour.
In addition to enjoying tasty bites and beverages, tour guests can feast on a wealth of kitchen ideas. And not all come with a big price tag. “They will see high-end professionally designed kitchens as well as do-it-yourself remodels,” said Joyce Renshaw, chair of the tour, and of the organization it benefits, the Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.
Here, we offer a preview of those seven kitchens, along with kitchen design wisdom from their owners.
Home design: Bruce Koontz/Michael O’Sullivan/Louise and Richard Mazerov
Kitchen design: Michael O’Sullivan and Louise Mazerov
Builder: O’Sullivan Construction
The new home of Louise and Richard Mazerov offers plenty of modern amenities, but it also pays homage to a bygone era. In fact, the kitchen design centered around a robin’s egg blue Northstar stove in a retro 1950s design, which was “the first thing I chose for the new house,” said Louise Mazerov.
Also contributing to the vintage cottage feel is the kitchen island, which was built from a buffet once a part of her grandparents’ 1940s dining room set.
Achieving the right balance of old and new took time — three years of planning, to be exact. By the end, the couple was so weary of the process, they found decision-making a challenge. “We actually brought home tile samples for the backsplash and had neighbors vote,” said Mazerov. Still, the project turned out just as they had hoped: “open, airy, colorful and comfortable,” she said.
Home/kitchen design: Julie and Larry Beltramo, Gary Swauger, Wayne Gracey
Builder: Wayne Gracey
When Julie and Larry Beltramo began working on the design of their house, they knew they wanted something contemporary that took full advantage of the site’s tremendous ocean views. They achieved this — even in the kitchen, where they can gaze out upon Shamel Park and the coastline from the window above their sink.
The couple likes to entertain, so they needed excellent functionality from “high-performance appliances within an ultra-modern/contemporary design,” said Julie Beltramo.
To this end, they chose hardworking Thermador appliances, including a Pro Series six-burner range, and a built-in Wine Preservation Column, a narrow, full-height wine refrigerator.
Kitchen design: Tallon Designs
Builder: Duston Construction
When Farah Aria first approached Laila Tallon to design a kitchen remodel for the home she shares with son Michael, all she asked for was “white shelves, a farm sink, and to feature my restored Wedgewood stove,” she said.
Tallon and builder Paul Duston went on to create an open, 188-square-foot space, more than twice the size of the original kitchen that Aria called a “tiny, closed-off box.” It is farmhouse-style, with Aria’s requested farm sink and antique reproduction fixtures.
The kitchen is highly efficient with plenty of work space, cabinet pull-outs for easy access to pots and dishes, and drawers that close with a gentle nudge. One of Tallon’s favorite features is the open shelving. “Seeing all my colored serve ware on my white shelves makes me happy,” she said.
Kitchen design: Tallon Designs
Builder: Duston Construction
Two years ago, Tom and Susan Loganbill decided it was time to upgrade their tired kitchen, which was original to their 1993-built home. “It was just worn out,” said Susan Loganbill, citing beat-up fixtures and old, mismatched appliances.
They wanted the kitchen to be European in style, with a clean and simple aesthetic. They chose leathered granite countertops and cabinets in khaya mahogany that look like furniture. Appliances, and even a compact office space, are neatly concealed behind doors and paneling.
Colors for the kitchen and the rest of the home are inspired by the outdoors. They “complement the colors of the ocean, the pines and the open area that is part of our view,” said Loganbill.
Home design: Bob Detweiler, Susan Detweiler and Bruce Beery
Kitchen design: Bob Detweiler, Susan Detweiler and Paul Duston
Home upgrades: Duston Construction
Bob and Susan Detweiler’s 2015 kitchen remodel wasn’t a down-to-the studs affair. It merely added details that underscore the Early American style of the house.
The house itself, though built in 1999, is 18th century New England saltbox style, and is furnished in 18th and 19th century American antiques.
The remodel replaced butcher block countertops with honed granite that resembles soapstone. Bead board adds historic character to walls. And instead of ripping out cabinets, they merely gave them a facelift. As a finishing touch, Bob Detweiler created hand-punched tin panels to dress up cabinet doors, based upon a 19th century pie safe design.
Home design: Gary Swauger
Kitchen design: Chuck Larson, Hayward Lumber
Builder: Dave Morris
Last year, John and Cathy Zettler moved from a Center Hall Colonial home in Pennsylvania to a new modern residence in Cambria. To accommodate their collection of traditional furniture, they designed the interior to be transitional, blending contemporary and traditional elements.
The kitchen continues this look, marrying stainless steel appliances with traditional dark wood, raised panel cabinetry.
The design of the kitchen is a lesson in well thought-out storage, with built-in pull-outs, wine rack, recycling, trash and bookshelves. Dish drawers are near the dishwasher for easy unloading. And both the pantry and kitchen island are oversized — two of the couple’s favorite features in their new kitchen.
Home and kitchen design: Bruce Koontz
Builder: Boa Contractors
Janet Cooper can’t pin a style on her remodeled kitchen. She merely calls it “open space that invites people to linger.”
Clean lines and a practical layout were her goals for the remodel that extended cabinetry by three feet and upgraded light and plumbing fixtures. She wanted the kitchen to blend well with the rest of the traditional house that has exposed post and beam construction and a warm and welcoming character. So she chose maple cabinets, multi-hued peacock slate for the floors and backsplash, and polished tropic brown granite tile for countertops.
Her favorite feature of her new kitchen is its open floorplan. “People tend to gather around the kitchen area and it is easy to circulate and mingle in the space,” she said.
The 16th annual Great Kitchens of Cambria Tour
This self-guided tour features progressive gourmet tasting. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 30. Each of the seven kitchens will offer small plates, wine and beer. There will also be a raffle.
All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, a 437-acre hiking and wilderness preserve along the coast in Cambria.
Tickets are $40 and are available online at www.cambriakitchentour.com, by mail, or at various locations around the county. For more information, visit the tour website, call 805-927-2856 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.