30 November 2008

Here's a great kitchen

Last Wednesday's San Francisco Chronicle Living section profiled the renovation of sculptor Angelio Batle's work/ live space in Potrero Hill. If you're not familiar with San Francisco, Potrero Hill is a mixed development neighborhood that rises above the port on the east side of town. Though it's by now loaded with infill, new construction "loft" condominiums, Potrero Hill has its share of actual lofts and repurposed industrial buildings.

One such light industrial building is now the home of Angelio Batle and his family. San Francisco real estate is absurdly expensive and what was so interesting to me about the Chron story is that Batle's renovation was pretty heavily budget-driven. I have no idea how much money this family invested in their property, but they worked with an architect who understood how to stretch a dollar. In looking over the photos of the finished project, only a practiced eye could tell that there were corners cut and expenses shaved all over the place.

As is always the case with these things, I have a tendency to pay extra attention to the kitchen for obvious reasons. And whoever designed this kitchen deserves an award. I have a feeling that it was the work of the architect because the cabinetry is from Ikea. I cannot imagine a kitchen designer using anything from Ikea, least of all their cabinetry. But whatever, a pretty picture is a pretty picture and a good design is a good design.

Here's the panoramic view of this kitchen.

Now where it gets interesting is in the left corner. What looks like a stack of mismatched furniture is exactly that. The pieces were fitted together, painted a uniform color and then surrounded by new cabinetry.

Here's a close-up of how these disparate parts fit together.

The use of the gold-painted sculpture niches in this old furniture is really clever. It makes this kitchen the Batle's, that's for sure. Doing something like this is making this otherwise generic kitchen a home. It reflects the lives of the people who live here and I'm crazy for this.

Resourcefulness trumps budget every time. Everybody cuts corners, I don't care how much money they have. The trick is to do it with candor and wit and the Batle family hit a home run with this one. Bravo.


  1. Well that stack of cabinets gets a gold star for re purposing a group of otherwise discarded cabinets saved from the dump. Clever.

  2. Amen sister. I wouldn't have thought to do that in a million years. Someone definitely earned a gold star with this one.

  3. The one think I can say about Ikea, love the TV spots! Who is that women on the commercials? can't really figure that out.

    BTW, great blog!

  4. Thanks Laurie! Those spots are hilarious, I agree with you. I kind of like that the woman's identity is assumed like that. It makes her some kind of a conscience and as a former ad man, I approve.


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