Drama from top down

After designing a Hancock Park kitchen for a successful cookbook author and TV personality, Christopher Grubb of Arch-Interiors Design Group Inc. in Beverly Hills and Orlando, Fla., realized that many home cooks are performers at heart. Here are his tips to make your kitchen a cooking stage:Work space: A well-defined or elevated peninsula around the cooktop and prep area allows the cook to work without interference while still facing guests. Place barstools around the island only where you want people to gather.

Island vents: Don't block the view of the cook with a bulky ventilator hood dangling from the ceiling. Gaggenau has a sleek, low vent that sits on the island. www.gaggenau-usa.com; (877) 442-4436.

Lights: For efficient illumination, install dimmable, fluorescent lights above or below upper cabinets. Inexpensive rope lights or Xenon low-voltage systems on top of upper cabinets emit an inviting candlelight glow. Available at F.I.R.E./L.T.D. in Los Angeles. www.fireltd.com; (323) 782-9110.

Motorized drapes: Close the curtain on the kitchen from the family room with the flip of a switch, available through design professionals from Fine Draperies in Van Nuys. www.finedrapes.com; (818) 989-5567.

— Janet Eastman

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