Orange County seems an unlikely place to embrace interior designer Raili Clasen and architect Eric Olsen's modern farmhouse style. But the duo's easy-living environments, like this kitchen-and-pavilion combo in a new home in Newport Beach, are connecting with O.C. families. Maximized for entertaining and indoor/outdoor flow, the kitchen has formidable square footage, but its takeaways — layered lighting, hits of pattern — can apply to any size space.
At 25-by-20 feet, the open kitchen — "It's as huge as a barn," Clasen says — needed furnishings scaled for its size. Like the island: It's 14-feet long, topped with a Caesarstone countertop in Blizzard, and outfitted with a Rohl restaurant-style sprayer faucet and a Miele dishwasher. "It anchors the floor plan," Clasen says. "Anything smaller would have been swallowed up by the vastness." To match the island's proportions, Clasen chose a 10-foot-long Restoration Hardware dining table of rough-hewn reclaimed white oak. Clean-lined Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs ensure that the look doesn't skew too rustic.
Knowing the 16-foot-high ceiling could handle grand-gesture lighting, Clasen hung large-scale pendants from the Urban Electric Co. powder-coated in white. The statement fixtures — more than three feet tall and weighing 150 pounds each —"bring the drama," she says. As a counter-point, a single row of 11 bare bulbs illuminates the kitchen table. Although minimal, the massed grouping "makes an impact all its own."
Cement tiles from Ann Sacks, installed behind the Thermador gas cooktop and the dry bar beside the dining table, add the right amount of focal-point pattern. The handcrafted Moroccan tiles "have loads of personality," Clasen says.
Whites feel brighter and grays fresher in the presence of the deep slate-gray cabinetry color, Benjamin Moore's Wrought Iron. "It's as close to black as you can get without actually doing black and scaring the clients,"Clasen jokes.
Just outside, a gas fireplace with glazed terra-cotta tiles and an18-foot-tall stuccoed chimney is "the patio's sculptural focal point," Olsen says. The bench-size cement hearth doubles as extra seating during parties. Overhead, a pergola of 6-by-10-inch cedar beams provides a sense of enclosure and partial sun protection without weighing the space down. The gray stain contrasts with the home's white exterior and the Urban Electric Co. trellis lights offer after-hours illumination.
Reluctant to wait years for a reddish-brown ipe deck to mellow in color, the clients picked a heat-treated hardwood that appears weathered from the get-go. As resilient as ipe, the planks resist moisture and decay.
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This story originally appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of CQ.