Santa Barbara Design House Details Unveiled

Our Santa Barbara Design House has sparked a lot of questions, so we thought we would tell you the design process from start to finish. Keep reading to hear Showcase Kitchens & Baths custom designers, with lead Charlie Rutledge, give you all of the creative details.

The floor plan for the Santa Barbara Design House seems to invite casual entertaining and living. Tell me how you approached this project?

I always start with the big picture and function. This property is made for entertaining and large parties, but it also needs to work well for daily life. I wanted both the residents and the caterers to find it very easy to use!

Incorporating the client’s wish list is one of my top priorities as a designer. So the first challenge was to get two full size sinks and all the appliances needed for large groups, (two dishwashers, a full refrigerator, full freezer, and seven others) and still create great function. This was achieved by putting things where they make sense for cooking, clean up, and storage for those using it daily. And not wasting an inch of space was also important. For example, the posts on each side of the range pull out with storage for spices and oils, and the columns on the sides of the refrigerator are working cabinets as well.

The next challenge was to make a grand visual statement worthy of a design house and yet, as you said, invite casual entertaining. Visually I did this by creating balanced focal points, using formal details in the cabinetry and trim, but softening that formality with the “worn” finishes. Functionally I did this with careful use of zones.That is, by giving the cook and the guest both a place so they are together but not in each other’s way. The prep and clean up zones open to, but distinct from, the seating/serving side of the island. Also, by having the refrigerator and the second sink at the “edges” of the kitchen, both parties can use them without crossing paths. So when everyone a comfortable place to be, it is naturally inviting and feels more casual.

I love that you put the sink on the island. Is this a new trend? Tell me why it works.

Including a second sink and putting one of them in the island has been popular ever since we got past the “triangle” to “zones.” If the main sink is at a window, I usually include a medium size prep sink on the island. It is especially important in a larger kitchen where the fridge is in a different zone than the clean-up sink. I do try to keep the cooktop and ventilation off the island as it is not as friendly as the sink for seating, entertaining, and the projects for which the island can be so useful.

Kitchen Bath Designer, Charlie in Camarillo Showroom

Charlie Rutledge, Designer at Showcase Kitchens & Baths