My Favorite Room: Mario Lopez puts a little extra effort into the kitchen routine
A big window lessened cabinet space but turned out to be a good remodeling move, says “Extra” host Mario Lopez.(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
The family spends much of its time in a space where cellphones and tablets are not welcome.(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
Things stay light in the kitchen.(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
The painting at left reflects Lopez’s fascination with bullfighting, and the work “plays into my Spanish culture.”(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
When it came time to redo the kitchen, Mario Lopez had one goal in mind.
“Making my wife happy,” the host of entertainment television show “Extra” said.
That meant Lopez, 44, largely handed over the renovation reins.
“Courtney knows what I like and is pretty respectful of it,” he said, “but she was the quarterback of the team leading the charge and wanted to give it a cleaner, brighter, more open feel.”
As for Lopez’s needs, maintaining the Spanish influence and history of the 6,000-square-foot Glendale home was essential. That was accomplished by adding stone archways and such “masculine, chunky” accents as the pendant chandeliers and hammered-metal farm sink.
The couple had agreed that the kitchen was too dark, and though Courtney feared the large window behind the sink would minimize cabinet space, the pair were equally happy with the results: sweeping views of Los Angeles and an abundance of natural light.
The kitchen serves as the set for Lopez’s new YouTube series, “Dads in the Kitchen.”
Why is your kitchen so special to you?
I’m a serious, passionate foodie. Especially with my culture — we celebrate, mourn and vacation with everything centered around food. We love to have Sunday dinners in here, Courtney usually makes homemade Italian food and then I love to experiment and cook in here myself.
How would you describe your aesthetic style?
I like the Old World classic Spanish look when it comes to homes. I like it to look like it’s out of Arte de Mexico. It feels very comfortable for me; it’s my culture and what my family is about.
Great kitchen nook. Do you use it often?
We’re always with the kids in the nook — we sit down and talk and enjoy each other’s company. There’re no cellphones or iPads allowed when we’re all eating and hanging out together in here.
Any tips for an aesthetically pleasing yet kid-friendly kitchen?
We used faux embossed snake vinyl for the nook benches and kitchen chairs that is very kid-friendly. You can mark on it, drop stuff, and it scoops right up with a towel or wet wipe. The floors and granite countertops are both very kid-friendly and easy to clean too.
Do you apply the Lopez “5 Fs” to the kitchen?
Always. Fun — we always have fun in here; faith — we always pray before our meals; family — I’m always in here with the family; fitness — I try to eat healthy during the week because on the weekends we go crazy; and food — well, that’s obvious.
Tell me about the interesting painting.
It’s of a famous matador. I’ve always been fascinated by bullfighting, and it plays into my Spanish culture. It’s relatively new along with the kitchen.
Any history behind this home?
It’s a historical 1929 home built and owned by Peter Damm, who was a German immigrant and the inventor of the armored car. I believe it’s the first home in this area to use solar energy. He named it “Lorelei,” which is a German song about the winds that the sailors used to hear that sounded like a song.
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