To make the most of the space, Martinez floated the budget-friendly
Room and Board dining table between the living room and open kitchen,
even though that area also links bedrooms on opposite sides of the
apartment. “It really does not feel like you are dining in the middle of a
hallway,” he says, because a sculptural modern chandelier above the table
helps anchor it. The classic molded plastic Panton dining chairs are like
sketches and “metaphors of chairs,” he adds, and the raw wood edge of
the dining table speaks a language similar to that of intricately carved and
gilded frames around the art on the walls.
In the kitchen, glossy gray and brass pendant cluster lights from France
& Son above the island continue that allusive strategy of linking design
components to art. Martinez saved the existing overhead ribbed-walnut
cabinetry, but lavished funds on a marble backsplash, thick new white
Calacatta marble countertops and pale gray cabinets below.
It was worth the effort, as the kitchen gets a lot of use. The owner, an
avid cook, makes dinner daily and has breakfast with freshly ground coffee
every day. “After all, he is a scientist,” Martinez says with a smile. “He loves
his new steam oven. He read the entire manual to see which techniques
he could add to his cooking and baking repertoire.”
For Martinez, a native of Buenos Aires and a protégé of the respected
designer Martha Angus, executing this time- and budget-sensitive project
was akin to working aboard MS The World, a luxurious, privately owned
residential yacht with condominiums of various sizes. His firm Eche
recently completed an extensive restoration of one of its units that belongs
to another Bay Area client.
“We met the ship when it docked in early spring, got the ordering
done while it went to Alaska and met it when it returned to complete the
work,” Martinez recalls. Such efficiency was possible because not all the
design was custom.
“Furniture does not have to be high end. I don’t care about that. But the
lines matter very much,” the designer says. “At the Pacific, to complement
a valuable art collection, a thin, streamlined look — wherever we found
it — felt just right.” n
The goal was
to keep the room
serene and calm
to the art.