For this project Kaja Gam Design was hired to do a house renovation starting with a kitchen that was more than 40 years old. Knowing that the client traveled often to the Far East for business, was the father of two children and was passionate about cooking, Kaja suggested a “family-friendly chef’s kitchen” with an open floor plan, lots of space, commercial grade modern appliances, and built mostly of bamboo.
The client was concerned that a bamboo kitchen might hurt the home’s resale value, but Kaja explained that it was actually a logical choice. All the kitchen cabinets, butcher block counter tops, shelving, floors and the combination island/breakfast bar are made of Southeast Asian bamboo. It has incredible strength and durability and, as it grows so quickly, it is more sustainable and eco-friendly than many traditional wood materials. In addition, bamboo shows its layers, strands and threads, creating a beautiful style reminiscent of the Asian countries the client visited often.
The client loved to cook and wanted a restaurant kitchen. The kitchen cabinets were raised off the floor on steel legs to provide for easy cleaning.
The appliances are professional grade and included a glass-door commercial refrigerator, an open burner restaurant range with shelving below for cookware, targeted recessed lighting for better vision, and an oven/broiler combination double oven on a separate wall to avoid traffic bottlenecks when preparing meals.
As this was to be a family kitchen, Kaja recommended an open floor plan with plenty of space for cooking, eating and general socializing. Innovative design ideas ensured plenty of storage with a minimal number of cabinets, such as:
A walk-in pantry with four carts to hold items used less often, such as a mixer and food processor. Carts can be rolled out and items easily accessed as needed. This walk-in pantry is the former laundry room, which was moved to the finished basement. A window banquette with hidden storage cabinets below for platters and other bamboo kitchen bench-special occasion dinner ware. A combination island/breakfast bar with a sink, side shelving and a narrow cabinet to hold drinking glasses for the children is conveniently placed opposite the refrigerator.
In order to maximize the openness and flow of the new kitchen floor plan, an entire wall was knocked down to create one large room that connected the kitchen and the dining areas.
As in many Asian homes, there are no thresholds between rooms, so screens and pockets doors define the spaces and their sizes, based on what is needed.
The narrow hallway from the garage, which is the natural entry point to the house, was lacking in storage space. In addition, a door to the powder room was creating a bottle neck.The hallway was redesigned to provide a more functional entry by:
- Adding a pocket door to the powder room.
- Placing a drawer unit in the wall to hold hats, gloves and shoes. These drawers also fill up the dead space in the kitchen corner cabinet adjacent to it.
- Installing a coat closet in the newly insulated and ventilated garage as a handy place to hang up outdoor clothing and to prevent clutter throughout the house.
Kaja Gam Design and KG Home Construction renovated every room in this house over the summer of 2006 and continued to service the owner with interior design revisions and maintenance for several years. When the client sold the house during the lowest point of the housing market, he made a significant profit.
And so Kaja was correct. It certainly paid to use sustainable, universal design, both for the time the client lived in the home, and when he sold it later.
See Gallery below for the bamboo master bathroom renovation: