Kitchen of the Week: A Modern Farmhouse Kitchen in SF (Before and After)

For three years, tech execs Brian Jackson and Thomas Ranese devoted their weekends to real estate hunting. The couple were looking for a house close to Google’s downtown San Francisco office, where they both worked at the time, that would serve as “a bit of peace in the middle of the city” and a place to cook and entertain together. What they eventually found was a well-situated 1871 Victorian that over the decades had had the charm renovated out of it.

SF architect Malcolm Davis, a longstanding member of the Remodelista Architect & Designer Directory, took a look at the existing kitchen with its adjacent sliver of patio and multitiered yard, and saw the opportunity to create a true indoor-outdoor living setup. The reinvented kitchen, done in a white-and-black palette—to “allow the surrounding greenery and the food to provide the color and life,” says Davis—is not only ideal for intimate meals for two but is also party-ready: It now has two dining rooms on either side of it, one indoors, one out.

Photography by Paul Dyer courtesy of Malcolm Davis Architecture.

for an urban farmhouse look, davis applied classic board and batten paneling to 9
Above: For an urban farmhouse look, Davis applied classic board-and-batten paneling to the 265-square-foot space. “It breaks up the formality and allows a modern remodel to blend nicely with the historic bones of the house,” says designer Elsa Brown, a member of Davis’s team.

The counters are oiled soapstone and the backsplash is tiled in Heath Ceramics’ Opaque White two-by-four-inch tiles. The industrial table base came from Big Daddy’s Antiques; Will Wick of Wick Design (who helped the couple find some of the furnishings and make paint choices) fabricated the Carrara marble top, which can be raised and lowered from counter to bar height. The paneling and ceiling are painted Benjamin Moore Nimbus, a soft gray—”at 50 percent strength,” says Jackson: “We mixed it with primer to lighten it”—and the cabinets are Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee.

by excavating an inaccessible sloping section of the garden, davis gained space 10
Above: By excavating an inaccessible sloping section of the garden, Davis gained space to insert an addition, a separate pantry and powder room at the far end of the room, as well as a dramatic “glassy corner”—two sliding glass doors that completely open the kitchen to a sunny, south-facing patio.

Note the wall cabinets adjacent to the Wolf range; they make use of a shallow recess in the wall between studs to provide built-in spice and bottle storage. Also note the bar counter, which has space-saving, under-the-shelf stemware storage and a wine fridge.

made by weiland, a division of andersen, the fir framed glass doors slide along 11
Above: Made by Weiland, a division of Andersen, the fir-framed glass doors slide along the exterior walls for a disappearing effect. The doors form a weather seal at the 90-degree angle where they meet, and the barely visible window track on the ground has a drain built into it, which keeps water from seeping in and allows the oak floor and concrete pavers to “be at exactly the same plane,” notes Davis, “so there’s no step.”

The outdoor dining ensemble is the Kayu Teak Table and Kayu Teak Benches from Design Within Reach.

now double the size of what it had been, the terrace also features a  12
Above: Now double the size of what it had been, the terrace also features a Galanter & Jones Helios Lounge of cast stone with a built-in heating system—”it’s so much more effective and energy efficient than heat lamps,” says Davis.

New concrete steps and a horizontal cedar fence lead to a pocket garden and deck off the upper floor. The landscaping is the work of Daniel Nolan, who at the time worked for Flora Grubb Gardens and now runs his own eponymous firm.

the kitchen is also fully open to the dining room, which is painted in farrow & 13
Above: The kitchen is also fully open to the dining room, which is painted in Farrow & Ball’s moody Railings.

The walnut and steel table was custom made and the chairs are a mix of Matthew Hilton designs: Mary’s Chair and Fin Dining Chair. The chandelier is a Lindsey Adelman.

the floor plan details the newly added pantry and powder room (the latter had p 14
Above: The floor plan details the newly added pantry and powder room (the latter had previously been jammed into a corner of the dining room). By leveling and connecting parts of the garden, Davis also created an expanded and coherent outdoor living space.


with its granite counter, mdf cabinets, and fluorescent lighting, the approxima 15
Above: With its granite counter, MDF cabinets, and fluorescent lighting, the approximately 20-year-old kitchen was “very eighties,” says Jackson. (A Viking range and new hardware had been added when the house went on the market.)
pre glassy corner, french doors led to a postage stamp slate patio. 16
Above: Pre-glassy corner, French doors led to a postage stamp slate patio.

Here are three more kitchens oriented to the outdoors:

N.B.: This post was first published August 2019; it has been updated with new links.