What does a design editor do after finally landing her dream home? She starts reimagining it, of course. Rue’s own Kelli Lamb welcomes us into her first home—and into the design process that would make it truly hers. 

Last week, I shared details on the living spaces of the Altadena home I share with my husband, Tim. The starting point for our entire home project, however, was the kitchen. Our designer Patrick Maziarski of Beau Geste Interior Design said it best: “With the kitchen specifically, Kelli and Tim wanted the chicest of hotel-lobby bars, where not only would cooking take place, but also cocktail-making, coffee-sipping, entertaining, and lounging. Quite simply, it needed to be the hub and heart of the house.”

The first items I chose for the kitchen—truly—were the appliances. Specifically, the Fisher & Paykel 36″ Classic Black Induction Range.  Pre-pandemic, I had taken a cooking class from Chef Ludu Lefebvre at the Fisher & Paykel Experience Center in Costa Mesa, CA. I was still living in our Silverlake rental house, so renovations weren’t top of mind, but I fell head over heels in love with the brand. First and foremost, the look of the range was completely my vibe—I love the sleek black finish and easy-to-clean top. Once I got cooking however, I was very impressed with the technology behind induction. The cooktop is finely tuned and responds almost instantly—it feels like water boils in the blink of an eye, yet you can also maintain low and slow cooking. (Pair that with one of the world’s top chefs teaching me to sear the perfect steak, and I saw my future as a proficient home cook.) As I learned a bit more about the health and environmental benefits of induction vs. gas, it was a no brainer. We also installed a 36″ Insert Range Hood, which not only has five fan speeds but has a really nice light—we often leave this on for mood lighting in the evenings.

The most impactful change in the kitchen was the layout. “From the project’s onset, it was clear that they had envisioned their dream home for years,” Patrick said in the magazine. He devised an absolutely genius plan—truly, our jaws dropped at the updates—that essentially flip flopped the layout. The pantry, fridge, and freezer would be installed on a previously empty wall and the sink would be where the fridge had been. In place of the sink and former (broken) dishwasher, we’d have a corner booth. (Best seat in the house!) Not only was our storage more than doubled, but the layout also ensures that every square foot is functional.  

For our cabinets, we worked with Unique Kitchens & Baths. Tanya and her team were incredible, bringing Patrick’s vision to life with realistic renderings and every wish-list item accounted for. Custom cabinets were a splurge that was beyond worth it and one that I’d do again and again. We’d initially researched a few Big Box options, but every step of the way, we kept reminding ourselves – this is meant to be our forever home. It was important to us that we invest in high quality materials from the start as opposed to chasing repairs down the road. Though there were early iterations with a lighter, brighter palette, we chose Sherwin-Williams Greenblack for the finish. Patrick said it best in the magazine: “The sun’s movement changes the identity of the space throughout the day, and the ambient lighting renders the space a veritable French cocktail lounge at night.” Plus, our contractors raved about the cabinet quality for weeks! They were thrilled with the ease of install; Tim and I can’t get enough of details like soft close drawers and that UKB was able to disguise our panel-ready appliances to look like any other cabinets. 

Speaking of, the fridge and freezer columns are a dream. It’s the 24″ Integrated Column Refrigerator with Water and 18” Integrated Column Freezer. First of all, the size is so wonderful. The fridge we inherited when we bought the house was somehow bulky and tiny all at once, so being able to stock up is encouraging us to cook more. Both have Fisher & Paykel’s ActiveSmart™ technology, which helps to keep food fresher for longer by constantly maintaining the ideal temperature—it literally learns our habits and adjusts cooling appropriately. And both can have two separate Variable Temperature Zones, allowing for optimal cooling and humidity—we can adjust based on what we’re storing and ensure things aren’t going bad. 

For the countertops, we went with a matte quartz by Cambria. It’s called Delamere, and I first spotted it at KBIS, a kitchen and bath show in Orlando. I knew it would be perfect for us and our lifestyle. While I’m not opposed to patina, we are sort of tough on our counters: Tim makes a lot of cocktails, we regularly juice oranges from our tree outside, we’re big coffee drinkers…I wanted the peace of mind that our countertops wouldn’t scratch, stain, or etch. Cambria is not only made in America, but truly one of the top producers of quartz and I knew the quality would match that of the other elements in the space. The stone was expertly fabricated by Elite Stone Works LA, and they created a faux apron sink which is one of my favorite details. (The sink isn’t constructed out of the quartz; there’s a black drop-in sink that matches the stone.) It’s elegant and fuss-free, and I love how the matte finish complements the cabinets and wall paneling. The plumbing fixtures here are Brizo–specifically, the LITZE® Bridge Faucet with Arc Spout and Knurled Handle. We added an Instant Hot faucet from the same line, which is a game changer for pour-over coffees each morning.

To the right of the sink, the appliances are once again the star! An Integrated Double DishDrawer from Fisher & Paykel is expertly disguised to look like any other cabinetry. I love how energy efficient the DishDrawers are—we can run smaller loads as needed versus running a half empty dishwasher, so we’re saving on water. As a fun aside: when we first moved into our house, the dishwasher was broken. (Happy housewarming!) Knowing we were going to embark on a big renovation, I refused to have it fixed and insisted we save every penny for the new kitchen. After nearly two years of handwashing everything, we’re so thrilled to have not one but two gorgeous solutions.

The floor is perhaps the most eye-catching detail of the kitchen, which is by design. We both have always been drawn to spaces with incredible tile, whether it was on our honeymoon in Spain or the bold coffee shops dotted across Los Angeles. We wanted a very “wow” moment, and Patrick delivered! Using in stock square tiles from Granada Tile, he created a one-of-a-kind pattern. (The colors are Tan, Slate, Chocolate, and Fog.) Our contractors at Meneses Construction carefully cut and installed each one, and it’s definitely a point of pride for all of us with how lovely it turned out. 

There is a small powder bath near the back door, and it’s truly as tiny as they come. Luckily, we found Duravit’s 1930 Handrinse Basin and 1930 Toilet—both of which are the perfect size. The line was actually designed in the Golden Era, and so it felt like a nod to our 1928 home. We chose brass plumbing fixtures and accessories from Brizo’s INVARI® line for added glam. The wallpaper in here is Astek Home, and Patrick matched the color palette and scale to best suit the tile. We had chosen a few other floral options, but Tim kept going back to wanting something a little more rock ‘n’ roll. The monkeys are hilarious—everyone who uses the bathroom says,  ‘Are those monkeys drinking?’ Then the next question is usually, ‘Wait, is that a bra?!’ I love the element of surprise. The sconces are by Regina Andrew Detroit

As any design lover knows, the finishing touches made the space. In the main kitchen area, the lighting is by Regina Andrew and the hardware is from Emtek—the pulls are from their Jasper line and the knobs are by Haydon. In the nook, a bench is upholstered in easy-to-clean Crypton fabric, and window treatments were made by Victor Reyes from Hardwood House fabric. Over the Arhaus table is a light fixture from Soho Home, which I scored on major clearance. (I highly suggest monitoring their sale section…you can snag great deals.)

It’s become the place we love most in our home—where friends gather, where I answer early morning emails with coffee, and where we have a nightcap at the end of a busy week. I asked Patrick at the end of the renovation what he loved most about the space, and I feel he encapsulated it perfectly: “The most rewarding aspect of this project, as is the case with many, has been the positive reaction and feedback from the clients. Kelli and Tim’s genuine love of these newly designed spaces—and reinvigorated admiration for their already amazing home—is sincerely the most gratifying part of this endeavor. I have also been welcomed back into the space several times as a guest, and the sheer joy of experiencing a space you’ve designed in the manner it was intended (down to seeing the lighting at night or using the restroom… TMI?!) is really the best compliment.”

Find all sources in the slideshow.