How to Design the Ultimate Loft Kitchen
For years, Daniel Farrar admired San Francisco’s historic 1907 Clock Tower Building from afar. When he finally scored a ground-floor apartment in the structure, the exposed-brick walls, massive steel girders, and 12-foot-high windows didn’t disappoint. Still, the 1,560-square-foot space needed an update, starting with the kitchen, which was crammed in a nook under the upstairs bedroom. The new cooking and dining area—created with Tiburon-based designer Cindy Bayon—is nothing short of a showstopper, featuring a carefully engineered shelving system, an illuminated tequila display, and a quartzite-topped kitchen island where friends often gather for gin martinis. “It’s a great place to hang out,” says Farrar, CEO of software technology platform Switchfly. “It’s booked around the clock.”
Though Farrar’s home is clearly a bachelor pad—yes, that’s a punching bag in the corner—Bayon made sure it had soul. An earthy antique wooden table balances out the sleeker materials. Madeline side chairs, $132 each; Aviator chair, from $1,895; and industrial tool chest sideboard, $1,895. Element coffee table; $399. Heritage heavy bag; from $800. Accessories from marchsf.com.
An oversize island provides most of the counter space in the kitchen. It is also the unofficial heart of the home, where Farrar cooks, works on his laptop, and mixes drinks. An avid traveler, Farrar selected the quartzite countertop for its cartographic appeal. “The pattern looks like a map of rivers and islands.”
Choose Ironclad Materials
Knowing that the loft’s original thin-plank oak floors wouldn’t survive the installation of new plumbing for the kitchen, Bayon installed polished-concrete tiles. Not only does the new flooring fit with the industrial vibe, but it’s also low-maintenance—for basic upkeep, a weekly sweep with a dust mop does the trick.
The kitchen takes advantage of the loft’s 20-foot ceiling with a full-height wall system for storing dishes and appliances. Earthquake concerns meant that the structure, which is anchored into the ceiling, had to be sturdy but not lumbering. In lieu of solid-metal cabinet doors, wooden faces were covered in a thin steel veneer. Bayon designed a metal library ladder for the wall system, allowing Farrar to access the cookbooks stored in the upper cabinets as well as his prized tequila bottles. Custom cabinetry and ladder from berlinusa.com.
Design for the View
Bayon painted the window mullions charcoal gray for a strategic reason: “The color naturally leads the eye to the trees outside,” she says. The dark frames also have the added bonus of playing up the loft’s steel girders.
Light the Way
Generous natural light illuminates the loft during the day. For the evenings, Bayon’s “layers of light” system includes rail lights over the bar, puck lights above the cooktop, and a chandelier and low-watt Edison bulbs to set a relaxed mood. Varick chandelier, from $5,895; and Circa 1900 Train Station swing-arm sconces, from $209 each.