Record company executive Jan Stevens has a stunning $250,000 kitchen, bathed in blue to match the Pacific Ocean visible from the food 'n' fun room of the Malibu home she co-owns with business partner Stephen Graham. But she has a confession: They rarely cook.
"We're both so busy," Stevens says. A chef comes weekly to chop vegetables and fruits and store lettuce in the refrigerator for Stevens, who has been a vegetarian since she was 19. Graham, although a talented cook, uses the kitchen principally to make coffee. The couple do entertain, however, on a large scale. "We usually have 250 guests at a time," Stevens says. Then there's the weekly boys' night, when a dozen friends drop by to shoot pool, play computer games and just hang out.
Graham and Stevens wanted a stunning kitchen to go with the dramatically modern home. Stevens was thumbing through a shelter magazine when she first saw the periwinkle blue kitchen—her favorite color, she says. "It was love at first sight." The creation of Ferrari auto designer Paolo Pininfarina, the award-winning Ola kitchen sports many of the same features as a car: sensuous curved lines in the foam-injected, molded cabinet doors, one of which opens via a pneumatic lift, and a metallic, reflective paint finish. "We Turtle Wax it every couple of months," Graham says.
The kitchen opens to an expansive dining and entertainment area that includes a pool table with a custom blue felt surface. Graham set up his Apple computer's iTunes program to flash images on the 60-inch Zenith plasma-screen TV that pulsate with the music from his playlist of 31,000 songs. Guests can shoot pool or stargaze through the telescope in the corner or perch on stools along the low kitchen bar opposite the billiards table. Stevens puts out snacks and lets the guys help themselves to chilled drinks and ice from the refrigerator and freezer drawers located in the bar. They can also make themselves a cappuccino from the built-in Miele coffee maker, which grinds its own beans, or throw a bag of popcorn into the overhead KitchenAid microwave.
Even though Graham and Stevens don't cook often, they wanted a functional space that could handle several people preparing food at the same time—caterers mostly, and during the holidays, family—without getting in each other's way. Working with designers Janet Bussell and Barrie Livingstone of Bussell-Livingstone Interiors in Malibu, and Snaidero kitchen designer Lois O'Malley, they decided on a double-alley kitchen with a large central island that allows for easy access and a number of cooking triangles. The bar and back wall of the kitchen each have custom stainless steel sinks that are a swivel turn away from an oven. (They have four, plus two warming drawers.) A free-standing GE Monogram refrigerator stands nearby to complete the triangle.
The top of the island features a Miele griddle and cooktop with a central wok burner. A flush-mounted telescopic vent system emerges with the press of a button to suction smoke and odors from the cooktop and replaces a conventional hood that would have blocked views of the ocean.
The kitchen, usually full of young, hip singles, turned into a "vibrant family center" during the holidays, Graham says. "My mom cooked, the kids ate every meal at the counter, sitting on the swivel bar stools and watching Nickelodeon; my sister and brother-in-law danced to country music and I played pool with my dad." * Resource Guide Snaidero Kitchens + Design, Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood, (310) 657-5497; Barrie Livingstone and Janet Bussell, Bussell-Livingstone Interiors, Malibu, (310) 317-9642. Handmade vases, $69-$89, Indigo martini glasses, $15 each, old-fashioned glasses, $12 each, highball glasses, $13 each, blue-wave and dot tumblers, $24 for a set of four, all at Pomp Home, Culver City; Oro Azul tequila, Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, Skyy vodka, Blue Ice vodka and Pop champagne, all available at Wally's Wine & Spirits, Westwood, (310) 475-0606. Le Creuset Moroccan tagine, $115, at Cookin' Stuff, Torrance, (310) 371-2220; Egg vases, $50-$80, at Shelter, Santa Monica; Blue Circuit charger plates, $40 each, salad plates, $18 each, small bowls, $14 each, cups, $9 each, saucers, $9, sugar and cream bowls, $18 each, all at notNeutralstore, Los Angeles, (323) 692-0015; Alessi Jelly bowl, $48, at Diva, Los Angeles, (310) 278-3191; Le Jacquard Français linen napkin, $72 for a set of four, at Windows, Pasadena. Ligne Roset Pronto stainless steel espresso cup with saucer and stirrer, $75 for a set of two, at Linea, Los Angeles, (310) 273-5425; Alessi Mr. Cold soap dispenser, $38, at Diva, Los Angeles; Vic Firth pepper mills, $35-$49, at Bristol Farms; ceramic bowl, $85, at Maison Midi at American Rag, Los Angeles, (323) 935-3157.