Bunch Design, a Los Angeles design firm led by husband-and-wife team Hisako Ichiki and Bo Sundius, is wisely making waves in the California design scene. Having just launched BunchADU, they’re tapping into the booming Accessory Dwelling Unit industry. (Think in-law units, granny flats, and backyard cottages. An ADU is a secondary unit that has its own address and can be rented out.) Adding an ADU gives homeowners more flexibility, both financially and spatially. Bunch Design is the perfect pair to take this on, as instead of sticking to a single style or aesthetic, their design keeps a strong emphasis on the inventive use of materials, the qualities of light, and the relationship between the space and its users.
In this Los Angeles home, the pair was brought in to transform the original kitchen. It was small and cramped, and its dated design meant there were a lot of odd angles. The clients wanted more room, smart storage, and for the kitchen to be a gathering place. “They said they have relatives over for holidays, so they wanted a table that could seat 12,” the couple shares. “They were open to our ideas and vision from the start.”
Though the house is by no means small, the convoluted layout meant that all of the connections to the various parts of the home were through the old, small kitchen or hallways. Bunch Design added 500-square-feet and used the kitchen remodel as an opportunity to open things up and transform the entire house. Opposite the kitchen is a living room with a cathedral-like ceiling, and the designers thoughtfully brought the same shape into the kitchen and addition. “This would clarify the volumes of the house,” they reflect. The fireplace anchors one end, while a loft space looks down to the kitchen from above. They continue, “Gables in the roof fold the ceiling in places like creases of origami, and a huge window at the end of the space opens to a revitalized backyard.” The new landscaping cascades towards the large windows, creating a unique feeling that nature is spilling down the backyard hill and into the house.
The other elements of the design are open and simple. “We like to limit upper cabinets in kitchens,” the couple says. “It can clutter the space, so we chose to include uppers only by the cooktop. So, on the one side of the kitchen is a wall of storage with a built-in fridge and a hidden access to a pantry.” There is a sink facing the window and another on the opposite side at the island, which is the main food prep area. It looks out at the oversized dining table, allowing the chef to be part of the holiday fun. “The cooking area is on the other wall and we like how the solid vent is a bit origami like as well as it hits the vaulted ceiling,” the designers say.
For finishes, the pair brought in a few of their go-tos. The tile behind the range is three different colors from Heath Tile, and the wood of the cabinets is alder, one of their favorites to use. The countertop is caesarstone with a 3″ overhang so that the counter looks like a thick slab of stone.The fridge is a panel-ready Thermador, the cooktop is BlueStar, and the double ovens are Viking. Most impressive, however, is the light above the island. It’s a simple wood tube light — the Bennington by Hollis + Morris. “We loved the simplicity of it, but we wanted to transform it into sculptural art, so we designed for 3 of them to be choreographically suspended together in a cluster above the island,” they say. The light is somewhat of a symbol for the whole design: to take something simple, add a dose of unexpected creativity, and enhance the overall aesthetic in a memorable way.