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SAN FRANCISCO PRESIDIO 

EDGE OF CITY HOMESTEAD

TIMELESS DURABILITY

Johnny was asked to create a kitchen to enable the trustees to rent out this 1930s house originally built for army officers’ families in the Presidio, a National Historic Landmark district.

The design concept had to fit with its traditional architecture and conveying a sense of the room’s simple character was important. The scale, more like a cottage than a grand house, meant modest sized cabinetry, freestanding where possible. This would also ensure that the kitchen was straightforward for any future tenants’ use.  

Kitchen sink

We imagined the way the original owners may have brought in heirlooms or pieces acquired at bric-a-brac or antiques stores. Corners were left free and the sink was placed in the pantry.

Kitchen central island

The island was modelled on a circular library desk, with drawers that would have been used for pencil and ink storage but were now for cooking utensils, a normal tradition in the 1930s and earlier.

The wall-hung grid cupboard is based on our belief that storage needs visual order and structure but also a sense of fun. In this case the centre opens down to serve as a coffee-making focal point (American life revolves around regular coffee drinking). The purpose of every cupboard is identified by an army medal on each closed door.

Wall hung grid cabinet

The charm of old-fashioned kitchens involves simple furnishing, durable craftmanship and a sense of continuous time. In the future when the furniture shows signs of wear this will be a matter of pride than embarrassment. Replacement will feel like ‘unsustainable behaviour’, with repair the right option – an idea inspired by Emotionally Durable Design (2005) by Jonathan Chapman.

Kitchen sink with a window view
Click an image to view another USA project
kitchen cabinets and sink design
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