Nikki Klugh Designs a San Diego Kitchen That's Functional and Warm –

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A generous floor plan and tailored details light up a hardworking space.

It all started with the floor. At first glance, the material that designer Nikki N. Klugh installed underfoot in a client’s San Diego kitchen might look like a simple wood chevron, but it’s actually two slightly different colorways of a durable tile, arranged to mimic natural wood. The material is a fitting representation of the kitchen as a whole: a converging of style and durability with what Klugh calls a “rich warmth.”
“It’s a mix of homey and contemporary, so it was all about bringing in warmth but also clean lines,” says the designer. She had worked with the homeowners—avid entertainers with young kids and busy lives—on a previous project, and “knew what worked, and what they needed.”

First? Ample space for the family and their guests. Klugh had a partial wall in the kitchen knocked down to afford room for a large, central island and opened up the back wall to a garage entrance, making toting in groceries easier (she also swapped the location of the stove and fridge to facilitate this). Countertops in “indestructible” composite give the look of natural stone without the worry of spilled wine or sauce etching the surface.
Klugh’s mix of soft browns with bronze fixtures aligns aesthetically with the Mediterranean style of the home, plus, she says, “We both love that warm palette of brown and gold.”
While storage was a key consideration, Klugh decided to consolidate it to lower cabinets (which hide ice drawers, warming drawers, and plate racks) designed custom by a San Diego workshop. This freed up the upper walls to make the space feel airier and allow for floating shelves to break up the monotony of cabinetry. The final touch of softness comes via pinstripe benches, which bring “just the right amount of structure,” says Klugh.

The clients’ dramatic black Bertazzoni range (which they found resale!) inspired Klugh to paint the island an equally rich shade of brown, Sealskin by Sherwin-Williams. She designed a simple hood to keep the focus on the range. Cabinets: custom from Baja Casa Designs. Floor tile: LDI Woodcraft. Countertops and backsplash: Ascale. Sink: Fossil Blu. Faucet: Gicasa. Pendants: Crate & Barrel. Task lights: clients’ own. Stools: Greathouse. Refrigerator: Sub-Zero.

Removing the soffit in the ceiling would have been costly, so Klugh camouflaged it by painting it the same white as the hood. She painted the window frames a dark brown to better frame the views and add visual structure to the white walls.

“They are espresso people,” says Klugh of the homeowners. The coffee bar is also a great amenity for houseguests.
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