Get design ideas from a kitchen with a place for everything

There was something missing in this San Francisco home. It had a formal dining room and a living room, but there was no place for the family to get together for supper, to watch television, or to linger over coffee and the morning paper.

The homeowners and architect Karin Payson worked with interior designer Suzanne Myers and builder Anthony G. Lynch to make a kitchen that has it all: efficient prep areas, smart storage, a small sitting area, a place for intimate family meals, and elegant, eye-catching ornamental details.

Design: Karin Payson, Karin Payson architecture + design, San Francisco (415/277-9500); Suzanne Myers, Elite Interior Design, San Ramon, CA (925/837-6688). BARSTOOLS: Pottery Barn.


Borrowed space. To give the family more room, Payson borrowed 4 feet from an adjacent hall, which made it possible to add a narrow storage and prep island (including space for a TV). Between the kitchen and the formal dining room is a bank of glass-fronted display and storage cabinets. “Not an inch is wasted,” says Payson.

Dual prep areas. A prep sink in the island allows one person to wash and chop with easy access to the microwave and refrigerator while another cook commands the big double-basin sink and cooktop.

Garden connection. A small, seldom-used utility room sat between the old kitchen and the garden. The architect removed the wall between the rooms, allowing natural light and views of the back garden deep into the house. In place of the utility room sit a miniature family room and dining area. A deep-cushioned window seat provides the perfect place to read. A comfortable sofa faces the kitchen and the television built into the end of the island.

Integrated colors. Payson carried the warm color palette – selected by Myers for the rest of the house – into the kitchen. The signature area is the harlequin pattern of terra-cotta, green, and yellow glass tiles forming the backsplash behind the cooktop. The motif and colors are echoed in the floor tiles.