Ventilation Tips

A few weeks ago I attended my first Washington/Baltimore National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Chapter meeting since moving to the area. The speaker was from BEST Range Hoods, who inspired me to share a few simple yet important tips on proper ventilation in the Kitchen. Here goes!

duoDuo hood by Zephyr, one of my favorites since you can add a piece of wood for a stacked look that ties in with your cabinetry and finishes.

IMPORTANCE – Ventilation systems keep grease off your cabinets and countertops and out of your home. They also remove smells, moisture, smoke, dust, bacteria and heat. They replenish oxygen, remove carbon dioxide and improve indoor air circulation.

WIDTH – Use a hood that is at least as wide as the cooktop, I like to oversize it 6″ to 12″ to make it more functional and give the area more visual importance.

DEPTH – The hood should be deep enough to completely cover the rear burners and half of the front burners. I usually specify 21″ or 22″ for custom hoods, standard pro style hoods depths are 22″ to 27″.

This is a custom hood I helped to design in the front of the Hollywood Sierra Kitchens showroom in West Hollywood (where I used to work before the big move). This hood is 48″ wide, over-sized 12″ from the 36″ Miele induction cooktop. It is 21″ deep, made of brushed stainless steel with polished straps.


ISLAND HOODS – Should be over-sized 3″ on all sides of the cooking surface.

DUCTING – Always duct the hood to the outdoors with an internal or external blower. Allow for proper make-up air to eliminate backdrafting. Round ducts are more effective than rectangular ducts.

CFM – Stands for “cubic feet per minute” a unit of measuring air flow. To calculate how many you need for your hood, divide the number of BTUs of your cooking surface by 100. If you have a griddle or grill with your range add 200 CFM’s to the total. For example, this 6 burner Wolf dual fuel range that many of my clients use has 84,200 BTUs, that divided by 100 is 842. So you would need to use a 900CFM ventilation hood with that range.

DOWNDRAFTS – Avoid them when possible, since they are located behind the back burners where many don’t cook. They also aren’t very powerful or effective since heat rises.

MICRO HOODS – Since these aren’t ducted they should be avoided. (Plus they are usually loud and ugly)

TECHNOLOGY – Hoods are “smart” and getting smarter. Certain hoods by BEST have a setting where they turn themselves on automatically when needed and also have a light that tells you when to change the filter and how well it’s working.


This is the Cirrus hood from the Sorpresa collection by BEST, it’s installed in the ceiling so it’s intended for installations like this with the cooking surface on an island or peninsula. Since it’s installed in the ceiling or in a soffit area it doesn’t obstruct the view, whether that’s into your Family Room or onto a lovely ocean view like this.

*Photo from Wood-Mode Fine Cabinetry and BEST

Here’s a Youtube video of the Cirrus hood in action installed in an 8ft ceiling.

Pasadena Showcase House

Last weekend I went to the 49th Annual Pasadena Showcase House of Design with Peter from HSK and some clients of ours. Our clients were very sweet to bring us, they were hoping to share some of their favorite design elements with us since we’re in the process of designing their kitchen, bar, butler’s pantry, laundry room, master bathroom and their daughter’s room. I wanted to share a few of my favorite rooms/design elements, so here we go.

The Library was designed by Michael Fullen Design Group, Inc. It featured high gloss gray cabinetry with contrasting grasscloth on the back of the bookcases. The pattern and texture of the custom lacquered grasscloth ceiling was exceptionally beautiful and unique.

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The College Men’s Suite was designed by JTID, Inc. The room featured muted jewel tone colors and the Ironies furniture pieces (which are my favorite, if only I could afford them). The abstract paintings and the striped wallpaper gave the room an elegant yet avant garde feeling. The modern/retro looking gold table lamp was really unique, shown right.


This bathroom was very over done in my opinion. It had a lot of really cool elements, just too many together in one small space. The vanity countertop featured steamline moderne detailing juxtaposed with the use of linear marble to make it more current. The metallic tiles in the shower were very striking, they created another layer of stripes with the linear marble tiles. The floor was black marble with white marble strips cut into it to create an abstract linear pattern. The frameless glass shower panels were also etched with stripes and the wallcovering in the room was also striped. It was basically an explosion of lines/stripes and this is coming off a room that also had striped wallpaper.



This floor was really cool and inventive. I liked the use of the tile-in channel drain, however I would have liked to have seen it made from a white piece of tile, aligned on an angle so it really disappeared into the floor.

IMG_5312In the Bedroom Suite, L2 Interiors turned a reach-in closet into a reading nook. It was really cute and cozy looking, perfect for a young/teenage child. I appreciated that they covered the backs of the bookcases –  just like in the library. The contrasting grasscloth added color and texture to otherwise plain white shelving.

IMG_5300The Master Suite was designed by Reaume Construction & Design, Inc. The ceiling detail in light blue and ivory was soft and pretty, framed out in a geometric lattice pattern with applied molding. The writing desk in the corner of the room with curved legs made an elegant statement.

IMG_5324 IMG_5325The passage doors with the circle panel detail that separated the closet from the bedroom were really beautiful. The circular design element was repeated in the sparkling globe pendant fixture. They brought fun, glamour and light to the space that featured mirror panel doors and crystal knob hardware. It also had the same handles I saw and loved at KBIS on the built-in drawers.

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The master bathroom was amazing. That’s Peter on the left in front of one of the double vanities that featured a tv screen in the mirror! The sconces, sink, countertop, cabinets, faucet everything was really elegant and well put together.

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The bathroom had lots of design details such as the lattice mullion doors with mirror inserts for the linen storage cabinetry. The tub area featured a lattice pattern marble mosaic wainscot.

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The oval tray ceiling over the free-standing tub may have been my favorite part of the whole house. The entire thing was covered in silver leaf and embedded into it were LED lights that pulsated to give the effect of watching the stars at night. The glass chandelier centered over the tub gave the bathroom a very dramatic, grandiose feel.

IMG_5336The Kitchen was designed by Saxony Design Build. The islands are bleached walnut with pewter countertops. We have yet to use pewter countertops on a project, however we have two coming where we are using it in a section of the Kitchen. I’m excited to see it as part of our designs. The finish is living so although it is impervious to heat and cold it does patina over time. The floor was a checkerboard pattern of marble which looked both timeless and sharp. The pilaster detail they used on the islands is so classic, we use that design detail often as well. The faceted decorative hardware in polished nickel from Baldwin was also very beautiful. The design featured two islands identical in length and finish stacked in line behind the range wall. When using two islands in a kitchen, I prefer them to be different either in positioning or in function/style so that they don’t overwhelm the space.

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Here are the samples of the materials we’re using for the client’s master bathroom project in Studio City. Off white painted flat panel cabinetry, geometric marble mosaic floor, calcutta marble slab on the tub deck and shower walls and polished nickel hardware (red shoes not included). Beautiful and classic, right? What were your favorite elements of the Showcase House?


DesignLAb May 2013

I once again made it to the Pacific Design Center for the opening of the latest DesignLAb gallery exhibits with my dear friend Peter and my assistant Christina from HSK. That’s Peter and me below in front of the newest (red) building at the Pacific Design Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art’s West Hollywood location.

IMG_5243Chair sculpture in front of the Blue Building on the corner of Melrose and San Vicente.


As in previous visits, we saw a lot of great pieces.  But here are a few that stood out:

Photographs of dresses by contemporary Korean artist, Yeonju Sung. The dresses are made from fruits and vegetables. The top left I think is mushrooms, the top right is tomatoes, the bottom left is leeks and the bottom right is papaya.



Left is a mixed media piece made of found metal by David Buckingham called “Color Study #59 ( Diamond Dogs ).” Right is a neon sculpture by Cathy Stone, “Ascension in Limbo.”


A photograph by Victorville artist, William Berry called “Bottles.” This photo made you feel like you were standing in the middle of a forest of these “trees” with glass bottles for branches.


At the Art Merge Lab, “Gestural Geometry” was a two-artist exhibition that showcased geometric abstract paintings by Chris Trueman and Joe Lloyd. Below are “Chrome” and “BC” by Chris Trueman. I love the stenciled, graffiti effect of “Chrome” and the way that “BC” draws you in with the diagonal lines and gives a strong sense of movement.


More bright abstracts by Joe Lloyd, top left is “Blue Pattern,” top right is “Blue Wing.” Bottom left is “Light Blue” and right is Christina posing with “Pink,” also her favorite color 🙂



Below are two of the 175 piece installation of pen line drawings by Eli Langer. The drawings seem to have been done with a multi-head pen that are popular with children. The multiple line and color effect made you feel like you were impaired since they were hard to focus in on. That was part of the appeal though, you had to really look at them to figure out what the form was through the scribbles.


This is a very interesting exhibit by artist (and commercial realtor by day) Mary Younakof.


Mary was working downtown LA as a relator and was inspired by all the brightly colored buildings she came across. She then started making dresses with fabric scraps she bought in the garment district downtown. The fabrics make up a rainbow of colors, they are all different and she organized them in color order. The pattern is the same for all the dresses and she sewed them all herself, she said it took her three years. She displays the dresses different ways, on mannequins, splayed out on the floor like a color fan deck or she wears them herself in photos, videos and installations. She describes this project called, “343 DRESSES: The Chromatic Convergence Project,” as an ongoing art project that explores color through fashion, installation, photography, performance, and video. Below is a shot of her video installation which combines videos of building exteriors in downtown that are brightly colored. Shown together they create a moving patchwork quilt of color.


Another part of the project is the photos and videos that she’s taken at colorful sites around LA that she’s discovered. In the photos and video, she makes the color of her dress match exactly to the building exterior in the shot. I find the photos humorous and fresh. She said she never asks permission to photograph outside these buildings and no one seems to care.


Here is a link to the video that was produced for Sherwin Williams Paint. They also created a feature on her work in their ipad magazine called STIR.

stir(Mary Younakof photos courtesy of her facebook page)

Which artist/piece was your favorite and why?

Legends 2013

One of the perks of working on La Cienega is that I am able to partake in the annual Legends of La Cienega design event. This is the fifth year and I’ve been lucky enough to attend every year so far. “LCDQ,” which stands for the “La Cienega Design Quarter” is a group of interior design showrooms on La Cienega Blvd. and Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood that make up a unique design district that Hollywood Sierra Kitchens is a part of. My uncle Gerry, who is one of the owners is also one of the board members for LCDQ that helps to plan and put on the event every year.

This year’s theme was “Time Capsule: The Past, Present and Future of Design.” Here were my favorite windows this year in no particular order;

Working with Andrea Michaelson on a Kitchen in a historic LA home, I know first hand her attention to detail and her devotion to her projects. Her window at Marge Carson is no exception, she found antique pieces and styled them to look as though they were coming out of crates which is about as literal a time capsule as you can get. The chair in particular was so destroyed and ancient looking that it really gave you the feeling that you were there as something old and special was being discovered.


Mary McDonald (Mums), my favorite of the “Million Dollar Decorators,” was not at the event as she was in Atlanta for an Atlanta Decorative Arts Center event. However she left a cardboard cutout of herself at Dragonette’s showroom where her window was displayed. So what does my assistant Christina do? Give Mary that hand of course, “We only do the real thing Mary.”


Seriously though, Mary is one of my favorite designers and I love watching her on the show. Her window definitely had her personality with the old lady astronaut manikin complete with baubles and her signature look with the blue and white Chinese vases and graphic elements.


This window at Mehraban Rugs by designer, Sandra Espinet was very arresting in person. You don’t often see furniture floating like that. The fishing wire illusion was an interesting way to imply time travel.

sandra_3 sandra_2 sandra    sandra_espinet

I have admired Molly Luetkemeyer’s handiwork at previous Legend’s events and this year was no exception. Her window at George Smith felt very modern without being clean lined and sparse. Her use of color and pattern created a space that felt fresh and very futuristic to me. I loved the paint splattered upholstery on the chair and the geometric bust with the crystal mohawk. I don’t always love eclectic spaces but her mix of the black wall with the abstract painting, pops of color set off by the geometric rug and curtains felt so right.



The use of color in the Lee Stanton window by Harte Brownlee & Associates was reminiscent of Miro and Dali to me. It had a conceptually abstract and surrealist feel with the clocks both melted and un-melted and the use of bright primary colors and circular elements. I was intrigued by the texture and symbolism of the red “Mike & Ike” candy that filled the chair crate instead of the standard “packing peanuts.”


This window at Downtown by Jeff Andrews – Design was simple in its color and objects but complex in its layered patterns and shapes. Jeff’s window featured a circular outer covering and focused in on a smaller circular mirror. This shape repetition along with the graphic fingerprint patterned wallpaper gives a sense of movement and perhaps time travel. Positioning the chairs as the only objects in the window gives it a modern feel, which is repeated thru their unique shape. It reminds me of looking into the cockpit of a U.S.S. Enterprise type space ship.


Jane Hallworth’s window at Fuller + Roberts Co. was very arresting in its simplicity and message. The mushroom cloud and the spiky lighted piece in the foreground create a landscape that is very foreboding. The red words on the glass demand that the viewer be aware, inquisitive and peaceful.


This window by Lawrence J. Rizkowski at Compas gave me the feeling of looking forward maybe 100 years. The background thru the “window” of the room appears like a “Starwars: Episode 1” type city. The juxtaposition of the futuristic backdrop with the stripes and Art Deco influenced pieces created a unique space that brings to mind how those in the future may continue to look to the past for interior inspiration as we do today.


Brian Patrick Flynn’s window at Jamal’s Rug Collection was very 60’s with the wall covering, furnishings and family photo type art on the wall. It was very “time capsule” in the sense that you felt transported back into a traditional 60’s family room. That being said many of the pieces in the space are still in fashion today. Not necessarily styled together as shown but the star-burst design, the graphic pillows, colors like the yellow, teal, chartreuse and mint along with the brass are all very trendy today.


Below are photos from the “Blogger Breakfast,” the “Luxe Magazine Lunch,” and the “Traditional Home Party.” That’s me in the top right photo on the left with our neighbor Katie from Marge Carson and Christina on the right.

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The event ended with a beautiful sunset after a brief sprinkle. Did you attend this year’s “Legends” event as well? What did you think?


(Daytime photos were taken by me, nighttime window photos are courtsey of LCDQ.)

KBIS 2013 Trends



I was so lucky to be able to attend this year’s KBIS show as one of the “30 Under 30.” Above is a picture of me with a few of the others chosen, I’m right under the nostril of the joker 😉 One of our responsibilities in being chosen was to collaborate with 9 others and create a 30 minute presentation at the show’s center stage on Sunday. My group presented on “Kitchens and Bath Innovations and Trends.” Working in a group can be difficult with so many different personalities and strengths but I really enjoyed walking the show with a few of the members of my group that also worked at or owned Kitchen and Bath showrooms similar to HSK. I was able to get their take on industry trends and we could compare notes on how design trends vary regionally. Here are some highlights from the trend spotting portion of our presentation.

Products like this passage door set from Keeler allow you to lock and unlock your exterior doors remotely with your smartphone. We saw that touch faucets are becoming more common in residential use not just in commercial applications. This technology is in line with universal design principals (designing for people of any age and ability) and is a good product option for the aging baby boomer.


Besides bidet type cleaning features, the latest TOTO Neorest toilet is made of a material that in conjunction with special integrated lighting actually does a type of self-cleaning.

IMG_4844Calacatta and Carrara marble are so popular right now in kitchens and baths. Both materials are beautiful but neither one is stain-resistant, non-porous or easy to care for long-term. The new Caesarstone colors, “Frosty Carrina” and “London Grey” made of a Quartz composite offer a solution. The have the organic veining and coloring of real marble but without the maintenance issues.



At the Caesarstone booth two of my new friends from my 30 Under 30 Team (Courtney Foster of Atlanta and Ashley Avery of Chicago) and I had the pleasure of chatting with the famed Kitchen Designer, Mick de Giulio. His book, “Kitchen Centric” is a fantastic design book full of inspirational Kitchens. I had the pleasure of attending the Subzero Wolf Westye F. Bakke Center in Wisconsin a few years back for product training and I got to experience a few working Mick de Giulio Kitchens. Below is the one of their demonstration kitchens designed by Mick, that I got to cook in. This picture really doesn’t do it justice, it was gorgeous in person with the over-sized stainless steel hood statement and calming contrast of the natural limestone and dark stained wood. The back-splash featured sliding slab panels which are one of my favorite design elements that I see him do over and over. It’s so slick looking while still being functional, I can’t wait to incorporate one in one of my designs.

swBack to trends, my group members and I noticed a lot of faceted details at the show, in hardware, bathroom sinks, lighting and faucets. Below is a new faucet by Perrin & Rowe and some decorative knobs by Richelieu.



Kallista also had some nice faceted designs like an octagonal sink and a circular sconce. Below are a few other faceted hardware options from Richelieu. I can’t wait to use these on a project, they are so unique.



The 30 Under 30 group became rather close over the course of the 4 days we were at the show together. We even made it out to Bourbon street together 😉 Great times!

IMG_4917Did you go to KBIS too? What were your favorite trends?

30 Under 30, NOLA Here I come


Tonight I will be leaving for New Orleans to participate in the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show or “KBIS” put on by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. In February I was very honored and excited to be chosen by the “NKBA” as one of the “30 under 30” – Exceptional Young Professionals in the Industry.” Here are the bios of the other 29 winners.

This will be my first time to New Orleans, so I am very excited! I’m anxious to meet the other 29 participants and to take in the sights and delicious Cajun food. After we all meet for the first time Thursday we’ll split into three groups and will spend our time at the show doing research for group multimedia presentations that we will be giving Sunday morning at center stage. I will be in a group that will spend our time at the show focused on finding and identifying new “Kitchen and Bath Innovations and Trends”. The other two teams will be forecasting the “Showroom of the Future” and the “Next Generation of Universal Design”. I have been to the KBIS show three times before; twice in Chicago, 7 years ago and 3 years ago and once in Las Vegas two years ago. With the introduction of the 30 under 30 program this year, it’s sure to be memorable. Stay tuned for our findings..

Hopefully I’ll get to meet some of these fabulous bloggers that will be there as well for the Modenus Blog Tour. I’ve been told to check out Antoine’s, Galitoire’s, Acme Oyster House, Bon Temps and Cafe Du Monde. Any other suggestions?! Thanks 🙂

*photo courtesy of NKBA

Westweek Fun


My protege Christina, my dear friend Raul and I went to the Pacific Design Center last Tuesday night for the start of the annual Westweek festivities. New this year is designLAb, not exactly part of Westweek but an art show put on by the collection of art galleries which were formerly vacant spaces on the second floor of the blue building. A new show is being putting put on every two months, so far the first one was January 17th and the next one is May 16th. Raul and I enjoyed the first show so much we decided we had to go again. Once again we had a great time, there was a wonderful variety of art from painting to sculpture, video art, mixed media, textiles, prints, you name it. Very impressive work for a free show! Here are some images Raul took of the work.

3D Videos by Young Projects, yes the glasses were a fun accessory!

Young Projects


Beautiful intricate sculptures made with rope and plastic.


LEFT: SCREENPLAY by Oyler Wu Collaborative

RIGHT: Swerve by Caroline Cox

The paintings of natural stone materials were so realistic and beautifully composed. Unfortunately I didn’t remember the artist’s name on these pieces.


Next was the Westweek Kick-off party hosted by Architectural Digest at Michael S Smith’s beautiful showroom, Jasper, which is named after his dog. Michael has many designs books which I love especially, “Kitchens and Baths.” His showroom is filled with so many wonderful things but my favorite is probably the lighting.



Lighting and the strawberry cocktails 😉


We also managed to run into a very lovely textile designer, D. Bryant Archie and her husband who were in town from Brooklyn, NY. Her beautiful line of handwoven alpaca pillows and blankets are now being sold at Jasper. She told us how she found artisans in Peru to create these textiles and since Raul is from Peru they had a lot to talk about. Here are some items from her lovely (and very soft) line.


What a fun night! Thanks Raul for the photos, xo.