Located just north of Downtown Beverly Hills, is a charming midcentury modern home originally built by Walt Disney for his daughter. Completed in 1960, the 2,000 square-foot home was relatively unchanged until television and film actress Jaime King purchased it 20 years ago.
Since then, the cozy home nestled in the hillside has undergone several renovations. The remodeling projects have reimagined the space while paying homage to its original design aesthetic and architecture.
The most recent update by celebrity interior designer Gabrielle Santiago transformed the white, sterile kitchen into a warm and inviting space.
Prominently featuring Feng Shui design principles that define Santiago’s work, the new kitchen is anchored by a Thompson Traders brass sink that serves as the glowing heart of this modernized space.
Metallic accents, light wood and pink concrete, along with coordinating accessories, finishes and period appropriate fixtures, complete the kitchen. Together, they showcase the power of brass in todays modern kitchen design.
Now married with two kids, she found herself in desperate need of an upgrade and sought out Santiago of Gabrielle Santiago Design to help.
“I observed the way the home functioned for nearly 2 months before stepping into a redesign,” Santiago says.
A celebrity designer who is regularly featured on HGTV, Santiago always see how an existing space is utilized before setting out on a redesign project.
“I want to know how it feels during the night when it is empty, where the kids put their lunch bags during the afternoon, and where people gather in the space,” she added. “I have to understand a space before I can ask it to accept my design,” added Santiago.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
The original kitchen, much like the rest of the house, was overly metallic with white walls, cabinets, and floors, accompanied by stainless steel counters and appliances.
“This home was very white when I first got my hands on it,” said Santiago. “White walls, white floors, white cabinets. Not to mention –this was probably the smallest kitchen I have ever worked on.
”While it was tempting to open the kitchen up to the rest of the home, this was quickly shut down during the initial design phase.
“I always try to maintain the historical and structural integrity of a space as much as possible,” said Santiago. “When I found out this home was originally built by Walt Disney, I knew that I had to figure out a way to honor his original thought process when it came to the floor plan. I wanted to createa space that looked like it could have always been there yet allow it to be progressive in its own way that felt modern yet warm.”
Since removing walls was not an option due to Santiago’s decision to maintain the structural integrity of the home, she set out to modernize and update the kitchen in a different way.
“I had to get really creative when it came to maximizing the floor plan and finding creative solutions for problems. It was challenging but the process was incredibly fun,” she added.
Santiago was able to incorporate multiple Feng Shui elements during this design process. Wood symbolizes growth, while concrete symbolizes the all encompassing love of the family. Brass and gold help to balance wood, centering occupants when they are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or lack clarity with their direction in life.
Santiago specified new custom wooden cabinetry along two walls. She continued the wood through the board paneling up the back wall to compliment the nature of the large-scale windows and custom brass cabinetry that surrounds the GE Cafe appliances.
Pink custom concrete countertops add additional warmth without distracting from the overall design, while custom artwork, brass outlet plates and intricate lighting rounds out the aesthetic.
The real showstopper in the space is the custom brass sink made by Thompson Traders.
Located in Greensboro North Carolina, Thompson Traders has brought the beauty and craftsmanship of Mexico to American homes with its hand-hammered sinks, bathtubs and accessories for the kitchen and bath for almost two decades.
“The large farmhouse style sink created for this project exudes a richness and permanence lacking in the original space,” said Alejandra Thompson, founder and creative director of Thompson Traders.“
Featuring a matte brass finish, it radiates a rich natural beauty, but is durable enough to be used every single day. It is a stunning piece that serves as a focal point that truly anchors the kitchen in new and unexpected ways,” she added.
“I was incredibly excited to work with Thompson Traders on this project,” exclaimed Santiago. “I always loved the brand’s brass fixtures but when it came time to pick out a sink for this particular project, I had to go custom. They made my vision of a flat brass sink come to life and I couldn’t be happier with the result,” she added.
The completed kitchen is a master class in Feng Shui design practices. It is truly a custom space that is beautiful yet functional, small yet full of storage and hidden features.
Importantly, the newfound warmth of the kitchen, along with fun little design pops throughout the space, do not compromise the view of the Beverly Hills landscape. Everything has its place.
King’s reimagined kitchen is truly a modern design dream come true. It now regularly plays host to parties, family gatherings and the ins and outs of family life.
While brass may not be right for every kitchen or bath design, it proved to be the essential element needed for this project. A new brass age may just be upon us, and we’re okay with that.
Location: Hollywood, CA
Completion Date: November 2019
Designer: Gabrielle Santiago
Firm: Gabrielle Santiago Design
Photography: Kelly Balch
Kitchen Sink: Thompson Traders
Appliances:GE Café Appliances
Faucet: BrizoKitchen & Bath
Countertops: Concrete Collaborative
ABOUT GABRIELLE SANTIAGO Gabrielle Santiago is a celebrity designer based in Southern California. She has appeared on HGTV and believes in an intentional design process built around practicality, functionality, and personality. Learn more at www.gabriellesantiagodesign.com.
ABOUT THOMPSON TRADERS Alejandra Ochoa de Thompson first introduced American designers to her vision of “jewelry for the kitchen and bath” when she and her family launched Thompson Traders in 2003. Since then, the Greensboro, North Carolina company has established itself as the source for original pieces of exquisite beauty and craftsmanship for the kitchen and bath. A designer who has transformed an ancient craft into timeless art, Alejandra’s distinctive aesthetic is reflected in the sinks, bath tubs and accessories that are hand-crafted by metal smiths using techniques perfected in 14th century Mexico. Learn more at www.thompsontraders.com. Follow on Facebookand Instagram.