The Refined Palate


The Bay Area is a place of gastronomic pilgrimage, a destination that leads one from fabled Michelin-starred restaurants to events by renowned chefs like Dominique Crenn. And whether they are single foodies or raising a brood, San Franciscans seek to achieve a sophisticated level of style and functionality in their own kitchens. As a result, Bay Area interior designers have truly raised the bar for residential kitchens, crafting bespoke spaces that combine high design, practicality, and the latest technology.

In November 2019, the SFDC created the Kitchen Collective Design Competition to showcase these interior design talents. After a celebratory kickoff event, designers were provided with a floor plan and elevations for a kitchen and a butler’s pantry, then given just five days to submit their concepts. Eight SFDC showrooms were their resources for the latest in materials and products: Ann Sacks, Walker Zanger, Artistic Tile, and Country Floors for tile, Cosentino for hard surfaces, Carlisle Wide Plank Floors for flooring, and Christopher Peacock and Kitchen Matrix for cabinetry.

Greene & Grey’s stylish kitchen, envisioned with Christopher Peacock Motra Collection cabinetry–finished in Benjamin Moore’s AF-610 Batik–and Artistic Tile’s Stateroom Nero tile, studded with stainless steel buttons.

The winning space? A cosmopolitan kitchen by Greene & Grey, a San Francisco firm led by founder Kristin Riccio known for warmly modern residential and commercial spaces. Its elegant, edgy concept took shape through a range of textures and materials in a blush, gray, and black palette. HENRY spoke with Riccio about the winning space and her approach to creating impeccably tailored kitchens.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CONCEPT? | In the studio, we named the project “Rock & Roll Glam.” When we found the Stateroom Nero tile at Artistic Tile, we really started to home in on the theme. I wanted to capture the soft, feminine quality of the color palette while juxtaposing it with the edge and sophistication of black marble and stainless steel. We envisioned the clients to be sophisticated art collectors who were willing to take a risk.

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR PALETTE? | The color palette was definitely top of mind for me. I’ve been seeing deep maroons, mauves, and blush pinks everywhere lately. This was the perfect opportunity to experiment with a bold color story. When we walked through the showrooms, there were so many unique products that seemed to capture exactly what we were looking for. Ultimately, we were inspired by it all, but the palette and materials were our jumping-off point.

WHAT DO HOMEOWNERS WANT IN KITCHENS RIGHT NOW? | Most of our clients are looking for great rooms—a combined kitchen and family room—where they can gather. So, kitchens need to feel open and relaxed, while allowing clutter to be easily hidden away. We explore many solutions for cabinetry that provide a functional workplace and also close off easily for entertaining. One thing is certain: the kitchen is still the heart of the home, and we are always carving out space for the biggest island we can accommodate!

CAN YOU SHARE YOUR FIRM’S DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? | Collaboration is at the heart of our work. The relationships we have with architects, contractors, and fabricators are essential to the bespoke spaces, craftsmanship, and impeccable quality we deliver to clients. Our collaborative approach ensures we design a home that truly speaks to their individual needs.

HOW DO YOU BRING THAT LEVEL OF CUSTOMIZATION TO A KITCHEN—TO CREATING A TRULY COUTURE CULINARY SPACE? | We get to know our clients, not only to design a kitchen for their current needs, but to help them envision the kitchen of their dreams. Customization is really my favorite part about being a designer—it’s problem-solving that requires our unique creativity. Right now clients are really excited about full-height cabinet doors that open completely and recess back into the cabinets. They open to reveal pantries, appliances, and work space, and when closed they transform into beautifully built cabinetry. | |

Two Henry Adams Street, Suite 2M-33
San Francisco, CA 94103