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The Best of KBIS 2016

Bam!  Another show is in the books and although it’s been a busy week “back at the ranch”, I’ve been dying to share my finds with you right here on Artful Kitchens.

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This Spanish Colonial by Paul R. Williams blends with its environment. Windows are strategically placed to capture views of the Hollywood Hills.

I admit it.  I’m an NPR junkie.  From Morning Edition to All Things Considered in the afternoon.  I get my daily dose of news, arts and culture from Public Radio, mostly while I’m on the road.  Once in a while it’s really really good.  That happened  this week.  I caught a story (here) about an architect who I’d never heard of,  Paul R. Williams.

Paul R. Williams (right) making a pitch!

Perhaps if you live in, or have lived in, Los Angeles you have.  His work is not only notable and impressive but his story is also inspiring and intriguing to say the least.  Mr. Williams was black and he was an architect at a time when those two just did not go together.  In fact he was the first member of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) west of the Mississippi.  His grand daughter Karen Hudson has recently written a beautiful book, Paul R. Williams: Classic Hollywood Style   , about his life and projects replete with  foreword by reigning Hollywood design diva Kelly Wearstler.

In one word Williams’ style could be described as “diverse” or maybe “eclectic”.  In any case, his work appears in both commercial structures such as The Beverly Hills Hotel as well as in around 2000 homes in and around the Los Angeles area.

His designs range from Spanish Colonial Revival and English Tudor to Mid-Century Modern.  Known for spectacular entryways and grand curving staircases, the single element present in all his work was a unparalleled  attention to detail, whether he was designing a Hollywood mansion or a housing project.    Williams was born in Los Angeles in 1894, orphaned by the age of 4, he was a product of his inherent positive out look on life as well as a bit of luck.  Although one could argue that he created much of that luck himself.

LAX, Los Angeles Airport structure designed by Paul R. Williams

Hotel lobby of La Concha by Paul R. Williams in 1961was located in Nevada. Sadly this structure met its demise in 2005. Happily, the lobby was re assembled and can be found at theNeon Museum,LasVegas !

Williams is often referred to as the architect of the stars and he was.  He designed homes for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant among others. The irony is that at this time, early to mid-century, he was prohibited by law from even staying overnight in many of the neighborhoods he worked in.  In his mind, he felt his designs were opening the doors for future generations.  Williams developed a handy knack for rendering upside down.  This was so, being a black man,  he could sit across rather than next to prospective clients!  Despite these hardships he left his mark and he left his gifts as a legacy and reminder of how anything is possible.

The Fountain Coffee Shop at the Beverly Hills Hotel. He loved those curvy lines! Check out the Don Loper Banana Leaf wall paper in the background.



Add Wearstler Hollywood Kitchen Design Appeal

Mixed Materials are featured in this design by Wearstler’s protoge Lara Fishman
Did you happen to catch this morning’s CBS Morning story on Hollywood designer Kelly Wearstler? She is described as the “new Dorothy Draper“, the original Hollywood Design Diva.   Wearstler sports a theatric edgy personal style that flows into her work as an interior designer. There it is again, fashion informing design and vice versa.  Wearstler shared 6 tips on kitchen design with Food & Wine magazine.
A kitchen carved in stone by Kelly Wearstler
Be bold with white.  Yes, she is partial to the cooler sleeker finishes such as stone, marble and stainless steel.  White works with these materials to create a clean open sensibility.  Plus, let’s face it, for those of us in Florida, white will always have a place.  Play with color and pattern. This is a great way to personalize your space and make it your own.  How about a punch of red with that white?  Open up cabinets.  Open book cases and glass doors are a great way to break up what can be a monotony of cabinet doors.  Consider using mirrored glass for a Hollywood look.  
Mixed materials, glass doors and chandelier light fixture in Gwenyth Paltrow’s kitchen by Kelly Wearstler
Mix materials.  I’m often asked if it’s OK to mix materials in the kitchen.  The answer is yes!  My advice is to include one unifying element such as color or texture.  Use pendant lighting.  If you’re up for the drama, this lighting option is the way to go, just like jewelry for the kitchen. Gotta have a chandelier, daaahling!  Last but not least, hide those paper towels.  They are a glamor killer.   
Paper towel solution is handy and hidden


How do you add drama to your kitchen?
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