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Tall Order

For one Santa Monica couple and their children, the kitchen is more than a place to cook. “It’s where we all hang out at the end of the day,” says the client, a criminal lawyer whose husband is a civil litigator and mystery writer. “We wanted it to be airy with lots of light--and have ample storage.” With both ideas in mind, Santa Monica architects Leo Marmol and Ron Radziner of Marmol and Radziner designed the couple’s new kitchen around a 6-by-8-foot central island with a maple butcher-block top, cooktop and sink as well as a counter for casual dining. A wall of white birch plywood cabinets--punctuated by red, light brown and yellow Fin Ply--spans the entire 25-foot length of the kitchen, which connects the family room and the dining room. The 25-foot ceiling links the kitchen visually with the second-floor walkway, where built-in shelves are lined with the couple’s 2,000-plus-volume collection of books. “When you come out of the upstairs master bedroom and look down into the kitchen, it almost feels as if you are on a balcony overlooking an interior court,” says Marmol. To introduce natural light to the windowless interior space, the architects designed a mullioned skylight composed of 15 large panes of glass that run the length of the room. A wood trellis hung four feet below the skylight diffuses the light. Clerestory windows open with a switch of a button and provide a thermal chimney for the kitchen. “It’s great to come downstairs on a bright sunny morning,” says the owner. “We love to see the clouds and birds passing overhead or hear the rain hitting the glass roof on a stormy day.”


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