New Takes On Tradition in Custom Homes
by kathy a. mcdonald
A living room in a Montecito home mixes modern and traditional design elements.
Contrasting materials are one way to soften a design. For one Oberfeld project, a patterned, rustic-brick ceiling in the dining room is set off with an elegant Murano-glass chandelier, while the living room's wood-beam ceiling is flattened and patterned in a grid. Even the concept of a formal living room has been reimagined as a great room that opens expansively to a second outdoor living room privatized by drop-down windscreens.
Central to today's statement homes are the lightweight, cleaner lines of an ultramodern kitchen, which is where the change in tastes is most evident. No matter what architectural style is on a home's outside, a European-style kitchen system is a must-have. "People now want something easier to look after, [a room] that's clean and functional but [whose décor] doesn't fight with the architecture of the house," says Charlotte Myhr, Bulthaup Los Angeles's showroom manager.
Elaborately carved corbels and decorative millwork of custom-wood cabinetry is not used in the new high-end, custom kitchen. "We've been through cherry and dark wood, and it's now back to a matte or high-gloss white finish. All-white kitchens are very fashionable at the moment," says Myhr of the trend that reflects an international sensibility in kitchen design with a preference for functionalism, cutting-edge technology, and the most up-to-date equipment. "When tricked out with high-tech built-ins such as plasma screens, espresso makers, and dual dishwashers," she says, "luxurious kitchens can also be practical."