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Canyons & Valley Edition

Looks we Love High-impact ideas for the kitchen & bath

PRACTICAL MAKES PERFECT The latest essential appliances CHEF’S TABLE Palate offers eclectic dining in Glendale

September/October 2009

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southern california September/October 2009

cover story

30 Designer Labels

Check out stylish elements of modern and contemporary kitchens and baths.


13 Shop Treatment

A Toluca Lake boutique creates a haven for unique home, gift and garden merchandise.

18 Trade Secrets

Designer Ryan Brown infuses live-in comfort in his remodeling projects.

22 Best in Show

Add style and convenience to your home’s living spaces with these updated appliances.


38 Chef’s Table

An ever-changing menu and extensive wine list enhance the experience at Palate Food+Wine.

44 High-Tech Home

These next-generation gadgets can work magic with household chores.

48 Cause for Applause

Five San Fernando Valley architects open their homes for a fund-raising tour.

50 Finishing Touch

Award-winning artist Anthony Verity offers his own surreal interpretation of

Above: Contemporary cabinets of natural maple and stainless steel—a hot design trend—are warmed by tomato-red walls and licorice-hued countertops in this high-tech kitchen created by Showcase Kitchens & Baths. “A great kitchen is like having Walden Pond in your home,” says James Rice, the company’s owner. Photo by David Crane. On the cover: Los Angeles designer Troy Adams utilizes his trademark FusionDesign techniques to create a Zen-inspired bathroom that seamlessly melds elements of Asia, Europe and the U.S.

 spaces september/october 2009

the world.

editor’s letter

Sensibly chic


he kitchen and bathroom are the most essential rooms in your home. You want these spaces to

be comfortable and welcoming, while reflecting your lifestyle and personality. That said, it never hurts to have a second—or even a third—opinion. I can recall being in a tile showroom, where a woman enamored with a violetcolored ceramic tile was laying out her vision for what was sure to be a shock-



n accomplished pastry chef with a young family of her own, Sandra Barrera felt a real connection with Ryan Brown as she talked to the star of Bravo TV’s “Flipping Out” about his designs for active lifestyles. Sandra is also a veteran reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering design, fashion and entertainment.

ingly vibrant kitchen. Her contractor was diplomatically trying to talk her into a more neutral choice when she told him, “Look, this is my kitchen, and I like purple.” Thank goodness for designers, who can help distill our preferences and interpret our fantasies into rooms that are both striking and livable. They not only have the eye for the aesthetic, but also help to create future trends and establish industry practices. One of the leaders in the field is Los Angeles-based designer Troy Adams, whose elegant bathroom is one of several inspirational rooms featured in Spaces’ “Kitchen and Bath” issue. We also


t work or at play, Sue Doyle looks for adventure. A police reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News, she covers mayhem on the streets and stories about extraordinary people. Her spare time finds her looking for the special and unexpected in local shops and boutiques.

talk to Ryan Brown, the co-host of Bravo TV’s “Flipping Out,” about the growing popularity of “live-in kitchens” in upscale home renovations. In addition, we give you a peek at the latest in fabulous appliances, tempting for their practicality as well as their looks. We hope you will find inspiration in the rooms we’ve showcased and the insights offered by the designers who created them.

Have a good story idea to share? Comments about the magazine? Write to me at

 spaces september/october 2009


photojournalist for 25 years, David Crane has the ability to turn life into art. He graduated from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and is currently a staff photographer for the Los Angeles Daily News. His professional accolades include being named Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association.


6941 Topanga Canyon Blvd. (818) 347-7775


5960 Van Nuys Blvd. (818) 304-0444


8814 Reseda Blvd. (818) 772-8888

NORTH HOLLYWOOD 7107 Radford Ave. (818) 765-2629


405 W. Foothill Blvd. (626) 471-3599


Volume 2 • Issue 5


Gregg Bertness associate publisher

Meaghan Miller editor

Barbara Jones national editor

Denise Gee

designer LeeAnn Nelson

photo director Dean Musgrove

contributing writers

Sandra Barrera Holly Berecz Sue Doyle Natalie Haughton

contributing photographers Michael Owen Baker

David Crane John McCoy

marketing director Bill Van Laningham research director Liz Hamm

creative services manager Paul Schraeder

office manager Mary Anne Rozinsky

Los Angeles Newspaper Group president & ceo

Fred H. Hamilton executive vice president & cfo

James Siegrist  Publisher, Daily News Jack Klunder

contact us editorial:  818/713-3710 advertising: 818/713-3323 Copyright 2009 Southern California Spaces magazine by the Los Angeles Newspaper Group. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. Southern California Spaces magazine is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos or artwork even if accompanied by a stamped self-addressed envelope. Comments? Southern California Spaces welcomes story ideas and comments from our readers. Write to: Spaces, 21860 Burbank Blvd., Ste. 120, Woodland Hills, CA 91367

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Venetian masks ($35-$400) and fanciful figurines offer a bounty of gift and decorating ideas.

A bella boutique The whimsical and elegant find a home at Pergolina in Toluca Lake


he Venetian masks, the Milan pewter, the jewelry made by Italian artisans: Behind the red front door of Pergo-

lina are the images of Paulanna Cuccinello’s heritage.

Pergolina 10139 Riverside Drive Toluca Lake 818-508-7708

For 20 years, Cuccinello has owned the sophisticated, one-of-a-kind home, gift and garden boutique. It’s the same venue where

By Sue Doyle

her Italian-born parents, Anthony and Rose

Photos by Michael Owen Baker

vibe, the undertone is Italy,” Cuccinello says.

Chimo, ran the Flowers by Anthony Rose shop for 45 years. “My store is European. The “Because I am first generation, it’s who I am.”

september/october 2009 spaces 13


so cool “It’s such a blast,” Cuccinello says. “I get to make art every day.”

Owner Paulanna Cuccinello, top, opened her gift boutique on the former site of her parents’ flower shop.

14 spaces september/october 2009

Cuccinello, who worked for 15 years as a

also created masks for the 1999 movie “Eyes

floral designer and artist, opened the bou-

Wide Shut.”

tique in a small space at the front of her

In back of the shop, Cuccinello crafts

parents’ flower shop. She named her store

dolls at her dad’s old work table. Some are

Pergolina, a reference to a pergola or arbor.

transformed into angels, others into Vene-

When the Chimos retired in 1995, Cuccinel-

tian royalty. One customer orders a doll that

lo expanded into their space and made it her

reminds her of her grandmother. “It’s such

own. As she says, “Pergolina grew up.”

a blast,” Cuccinello says. “I get to make art

every day.”

And the artist turned the boutique into

her lively and ever-changing canvas. Gold

alphabet letters create a whimsical display

bound to find something that they simply

With every turn in the shop, shoppers are

on a raspberry-colored wall, opposite one

must pick up and examine with glee. A bird

adorned with dozens of Venetian masks.

bath holds hundreds of metal tokens en-

The masks are handcrafted by Venetian

graved with heartfelt messages, such as “Luck

painter Sergio Boldrin, a family friend who

for thee” and “I will cover you with 1,000


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so cool kisses.” Fragrant soaps from Maine, Italy and France are displayed near exotic candles and decorated coffee mugs. Eye-catching door charms made in India are covered in tiny, colorful hens. There’s even a feline bingo game tucked in a corner. “I want the customer to experience something fun,” Cuccinello says. “But it has to happen in five seconds.” For those looking for elegant items for the home, there are pewter serving pieces created by Milan-based Match, and lead crystal champagne flutes and carafes. There are also personal gifts, such as beaded bracelets created from precious stones and a silk collar stitched with mother of pearl and turquoise A maple leaf-shaped mask ($120) is among the more unique items.

beads. As she does with her dolls, Cuccinello makes accommodations when customers ask for a custom jewelry item. It’s a practice that has served Cuccinello’s family well for more than a half-century. “My mother said,

Cuccinello’s handcrafted dolls, made at her dad’s old work table, start at $300.

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Got space? Materials and proportion make all the difference By Sandra Barrera


pacious kitchens and luxurious mas-

ter baths. If anything makes or sells a

house, it’s rooms like these, says Ryan

Brown, the 35-year-old owner of Brown Design and host of Bravo’s reality TV series “Flipping Out.” Many of his design projects in and around Los Angeles involve updating early 20th century homes, especially those with small functional kitchens and cramped utilitarian bathrooms.

18 spaces september/october 2009

Where do you begin when it comes to creating a live-in kitchen?

“Our formula is to go in and really open

their 3-year-old daughter, Chloe. Brown tore

up the space, and to create a great room or

out the wall separating the kitchen and for-

what I call a live-in kitchen,” he says. “Some-

mal dining room (which he relocated) and

I look at the space and figure out how to

one can be cooking and the kids can be in the

created a family-friendly great room. “It feels

make it larger. My next immediate question

same room doing homework or playing or

like you’re sitting at the chef’s table in the

is, how much do you cook? If somebody’s big

whatever. We’re just not as disjointed as we

kitchen, which, when you go to a great res-

on cooking, I’m going to go with an indus-

used to be.”

taurant, is always an amazing experience,”

trial space, a functioning hood to ventilate

Brown says. “You get the sights, the smells,

the room and plenty of space for prepping. If

Brown incorporated this philosophy in

renovating the traditional-style Los Feliz

the sounds, everything.” Here, he provides

not, I’m more likely to set a pretty counter-

home he shares with his partner, Dale, and

some insight into the design process:

top into the island.

september/october 2009 spaces 19


so cool I like to make every bathroom feel like a spa vacation.

Has the island has replaced the kitchen table? People are hanging out in the kitchen more

You do a lot of open shelving in your kitchens. What’s the thinking behind it?

these days, so why not make them com-

I like the look and functionality of just being

fortable? I always try to put in a decent-size

able to reach up and grab something with-

island or peninsula with at least four bar

out having to open doors. On those shelves

stools. Everyone can be in the kitchen when

I might mix cookbooks with spices, dishes,

someone is cooking or preparing food and no

glassware and, sometimes, even flowers. It

one feels left out.

becomes this multi-use, horizontal surface

Everyone seems to want granite countertops. What makes it so appealing? It is an amazingly durable stone. But there

for accessories and items that you’re likely to use on a daily basis.

using Carrara or calacatta marble. Everyone

One of your kitchens features a tomato-red china cabinet in a wood-and-stainless steel space, which seems so unexpected.

says, ‘It’s going to stain,’ or ‘It’s too porous.’

The owner liked Asian-inspired antiques and

are so many other beautiful stones. I love

But my response has always been that if you go into any bar or restaurant in France, Italy, Germany or Spain, you’re going to see these marble countertops that have been there forever, and they’re beautiful. They get better and better with age. It’s true they stain.

vintage pieces. So, I found what I thought was a really interesting piece. It kind of became this functional art piece for the room. What I like about Asian-inspired pieces is that even though they’re antique, they have modern lines.

of a bottle overnight, I haven’t gotten a stain

Would you say clean, modern lines are your signature?

on marble that I haven’t been able to get out.

Actually, I’d call it a casually sophisticated

But short of red wine sitting on the bottom

20 spaces september/october 2009

look. It’s a warm, lived-in look that’s still neat

that big shower and turn on huge rainheads

I love having a lot of natural light. In the

and tidy. It’s just a matter of planning. One

to wash away the worries of the day. But

planning stages, if we’re doing windows,

thing that I do is I make storage accessible to

the other thing you see quite frequently

I always try to get in as many as possible.

the kids in all of the kids’ rooms as well as the

are free-standing bathtubs, which bring a

And if the room is on the second floor,

kitchen-great room.

lot of interest as opposed to having a built-

there’s always the option of putting in a

in. Personally, I just think it looks a lot bet-

skylight which can bring in a ton of light

ter. And if the bathroom has a hillside view

into the bathroom as well.

Your master bathrooms are often decked in chandeliers, animal-skin rugs and gorgeous free-standing tubs. Why so luxurious? I like to make every bathroom feel like a spa vacation.

How do you accomplish that?

then I always try to orient the tub and the side view, then a big trend is having a view

But you’re not against pendant lighting in your bathrooms.

of a little private garden off the master

Again, it’s kind of a functional art piece for

bedroom and bathroom. It’s totally Zen.

me. You can walk in at night and just have

room around that. If it doesn’t have a hill-

that light on as opposed to all the lights in the

My standard has been the double shower. It’s a wonderful experience to walk into

And well lit.

bathroom, and it just gives this nice glow.

september/october 2009 spaces 21


so cool

Clear winner Sub-Zero’s glass-front wine refrigerator (style 427R) offers eight roller-glide shelves for wine and two refrigerated drawers underneath. Each individually controlled wine zone holds 78 bottles, and the lockable unit, featuring a softly lit display shelf for prized bottles, can sport classic, platinum, carbon stainless or custom wood panels. Price varies; or 800/222-7820.

Best in show Glass housing The newest look in shower doors is on a roll thanks to Fleurco Product’s Kinetik Slice, a 90-pound barn-style glass door that moves at the push of a finger. It retrofits to 66" wide and 78¾" high or can be customized. In varying styles of glass, it’s a great compact way to conceal both a shower and toilet room. Price varies; or 800/326-2222.

x Side swiper Many shower spray units have to be wrestled like snakes, but not the Hahnsgrohe SideWay Showerpanel. In a satin chrome finish, it houses a concealed hose that glides in and out, plus five body sprays. $2,100;

z Turbo engine How about roasting a 12-pound turkey in 40 minutes? That’s the inner beauty of the 30-inch TurboChef SpeedCook Oven, or 800/ 334-0455.

which uses convection and microwaves to get its work done quickly, crisply and tenderly. The outer beauty touts such two-tone finishes in stainless, white, ivory, charcoal, hearth orange, thermal red, and evening blue. $6,000; or 866/543-6569.

Be an industry insider: Check out the most innovative and stylish new products to win rave reviews at the recent Kitchen/Bath Industry Show.

—Denise Gee

y All for one Fagor’s Washer/Dryer Combo unit, taking up 3 cubic feet and holding 13-pound loads, is truly a space- and time-saver. An LCD screen offers access to 16 programs, including a delayed-start function. What’s more, it doesn’t even require exhaust ductwork, making it perfect for restrictive areas. In silver ($1,100) or white ($1,000); or 800/207-0806.

Lace grace CaesarStone offers the look of embossed lace in its Motivo line of non-porous, carefree quartz. Other lines offer similarly unexpected textured patterns, such as crocodile. About $100 to $150 per square foot, installed; or 877/978-2789. september/october 2009 spaces 23


so cool y Safe bet HealthCraft’s Invisia Accent Ring Support Rail is decidedly a sleeker look for a tub than the usual unimaginative, industrial-style safety bar. In chrome or white (about $225); or 888/619-9992.

z Layered look Kohler’s Stages chef-inspired trough-style sinks (in 33- and 45-inch widths) feature a variety of perfect-fit accessories (think cutting boards, trays and the like) for cooking prep and cleanup. From $1,050; or 800/456-4537.

x Exhausting the options Ventilation hoods need not be heavy-metal clunkers. Witness Zephyr’s Padova line, dreamed up by renowned designer Fu-Tung Cheng. Hoods can be customized with the materials of your choice — mosaic tile, patterned glass and decorative plaster (such as this custom frescoe of a Japanese garden on Japanese plaster). From $3,700; or 888/880-8368.

24 spaces september/october 2009


so cool

w Coffee mate Miíele’s streamlined CVA 2662 Coffee System offers quick, beautifully brewed coffee and espresso (thanks to unique Nespresso capsules), and clean-touch steel. It holds 20 coffee capsules and customizable user profiles. It also touts automatic cleaning, a height-adjustable dispenser, a frothing component for cappuccino and a host of other features. $2,450; or 800/883-4537 for dealers.

x Double duty Two ovens in the space of one truly is possible thanks to GE’s Profile Series Single-Double Oven. The larger lower unit (which can hold a 22-pound turkey) features convection cooking; the slimmer top oven is geared to casseroles, pizzas and the like. About $2,500; or 800/626-2005.

26 spaces september/october 2009

Luxury liners Toto offers the Waza Miyabi line of gorgeously hand-painted bathroom furnishings with seasonal themes, such as this “Pine Tree” line. Not so noticeable is that each piece is geared to water conservation (the toilet needs only 1.28 gallons per flush, and etched faucet only 1.5 gallons per minute). From $10,000 each; or 888/295-8134.

z Plum perfect Viking’s 30-inch Electric Induction Range with convection oven is the only self-cleaning range in the industry and boasts the largest oven cavity going. It features energy-efficient and safety-minded induction technology, plus two dozen cool finishes, including plum. About $6,500; or 888/845-4641.

x Steam power LG’s energy- and water-efficient TrueSteam Washer (shown here in Riviera Blue) is the largest-capacity front-load washer on the market, touting superior steam-cleaning prowess (which, for the matching TrueSteam Dryer, helps leave clothes wrinkle and odor free). An anti-vibration system makes the duo ideal for second-floor laundry rooms. $1,599 for washer; $1,499 for dryer; or 800/243-0000.

september/october 2009 spaces 27

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The elements of

style Contemporary designs for the kitchen & bath


itchens and baths may be the most functional rooms in the house, but

that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice

good looks for utility—or vice versa—when it comes to design. As proof, we’ve assembled a sampling of contemporary and elegant kitchens and baths from several of the area’s inspirational designers, along with guides to cabinets, countertops, appliances and more.

By Barbara Jones

As anyone who has ever experienced a spa

getaway will tell you, there’s nothing like it for taming stress or rejuvenating your spirit. Rather than jetting off to a resort for pampering, more homeowners are incorporating spa elements into their bathroom makeovers. Whether sleek and minimalist or rich and ornate, the spa bathroom is a place to lie back, relax and shut out the rest of the world. “The bath is a tranquil space that nourishes the spirit,” says Troy Adams, who designed the minimalist bathroom spa pictured on the cover and at right. “Working with the natural materials and a clean design palette gives you the tools to create a sanctuary.”

At the other end of the design spectrum is a

more traditional bathroom created by industry

30 spaces september/october 2009

Award-winning designer Troy Adams evokes images of nature with this spa bathroom built for a client in the Hollywood Hills.


The Asian-inspired décor includes a serene color palette and LED pendant lights by Bruck.

w  Floating shelves and a flatscreen TV have been integrated into the design.

e The custom vanity of Macassar ebony features a deep trough sink with a taupe CaesarStone countertop, backed by a frosted-glass panel framed in tropical wenge wood.

r The 3-by-4-foot stainless-steel soaking tub rests on a bed of river rock, with water flowing continuously around the base.

september/october 2009 spaces 31

veteran Helene Lotto that draws on the warm hues and opulent textures of Tuscany. With travertine ceramic tile, marble countertops and copper and bronze fixtures, the updated Bell Canyon bathroom was transformed into a five-star luxury retreat that takes advantage of the home’s spectacular hillside views.

Today’s kitchens are breaking free of tradi-

tional floor plans, with open areas extending into the living and dining areas to encourage socializing and entertaining. An island or peninsula not only expands the available counter space, but offers a family-friendly seating option. “We design around a lifestyle,” says Jim Rice, owner of Showcase Kitchens and Baths.

The Westlake Village-based design-build

firm created both of our featured kitchens— the Italian-inspired kitchen, at right, and a contemporary space with a retro décor. Though vastly different styles, each is timeless in its own way. “If you do it right,” Rice says, “you’ll never have to replace it.”

Many of the projects completed by Rice’s

company, as well as those created by Troy Adams Design in West Hollywood, mask appliances and other elements of the “working kitchen” behind furniture-grade drawers and cabinets. “Who wouldn’t rather see beautiful furniture as opposed to appliances,” says Adams, whose clientele includes actors Sela Ward and Eddie Murphy.

A designer of kitchens and baths for more

than 20 years, Adams has seen dramatic changes in interior design trends, especially a growing awareness of the need for sustainable products—“it’s our duty to start taking a look at eco-friendly design”—and the use of lowtoxic paints, veneers from managed forests and recycled materials. He also notes that the economic downturn has sparked a greater appreciation of family and a desire to stay closer to the nest. “People are saying home more,” he says. “They’re putting more of an emphasis on the inside of their homes.”

With these suggestions at your fingertips,

you can transform your beautiful home into a stunning showcase.

32 spaces september/october 2009

Created by Showcase Kitchen & Bath, this Tuscan-inspired space offers a taste of la dolce vita with rich colors and coordinating textures.


Furniture-grade Wood-mode cabinets feature conveniences like shelf organizers and self-closing drawers.


A French La Cornue stove with a black satin finish becomes the centerpiece of the chef’s kitchen.

e Carved black granite atop the island complements the brown granite countertops.

r Intricate hand-carved molding frames a ceramic tile backsplash with Florentine-style accents.

Photo: David Crane

september/october 2009 spaces 33

Designer Helene Lotto, in association with Vicki Korniski, brought a bit of Tuscany to a Bell Canyon home. Italianinspired kitchens and baths continue to be a hot trend.


A pendant light of antiqued iron from Fine Art Lamps provides a soft, muted glow.

w Rosa verona marble creates a sumptuous look on the tub surround.

e Walker Zanger’s Venezia Classico Antique tile warms the glass-enclosed shower.

34 spaces september/october 2009

r Hues from Benjamin Moore’s historical colors palette bring a warm luster to the space.

t The rich finish on the Omega cabinets complements the marble countertops.

y Copper vessel sinks from Stone Forest add to the old-world charm.

u Floor tiles in quartz slate from Jeffrey Court complete the rustic look.

september/october 2009 spaces 35

With an open floor plan that invites conversation, this contemporary kitchen by Showcase Kitchens & Baths in Westlake Village is designed for entertaining or family-friendly meals.


Reminiscent of a classic tool chest, the cherry-red hutch is another Wood-mode design. The over-size drawer pulls match those in the rest of the kitchen and draw the look together.

w The glass counter is the perfect place for morning coffee while the pub table, topped with vibrant red Zodiaq quartz, expands the seating options.

e Thermador’s cooktop and builtin convection and microwave ovens add gourmet styling with the addition of stainless steel.

36 spaces september/october 2009

r With front panels that match the maple cabinets, the Sub-zero refrigerator-freezer and dishwasher are hidden from sight.

t Wood-mode cabinets, which feature ground-glass insets in the maple and stainless-steel doors, are complemented by Zodiaq countertops in a licorice hue. A backsplash of one-inch glass tiles enhances the design.

y The stylish chef’s accessory tree keeps tools handy, yet out of the way.

Photo: David Crane

september/october 2009 spaces 37

chef’s table

A sampling of the ample selection in the wine shop adorns the contemporary setting of the bistro’s main dining room.

Winning formula Palate Food+Wine is much more than the sum of its parts

By Natalie Haughton • Photos by David Crane


hen you add it all up, there’s more

recalls. “The restaurant offered a creative en-

than just dinner at Palate Food

vironment and a platform or medium where

+ Wine. Located on the bottom

I could truly express myself. I really became

floor of a wine-storage depot, Palate is a res-

interested in touching people’s senses,

taurant, a wine shop, a tasting bar, a cheese

sights, sounds, smell, touch and, ultimately,

cellar and a “gastronomic” library with more

taste. I went into it from an aesthetic point of

than 200 titles. “It’s a wine-centric, passion-

view — and wasn’t really focused on becom-

ate and down-to-earth place,” says Octavio

ing a chef.”

Becerra, a self-made chef who opened the Glendale eatery about a year ago. Unlike many of his colleagues whose

working a two-night stint as a guest chef at

affinity for cooking began at an

the café. Splichal hired Becerra to work at

early age, the Los Angeles na-

Max Au Triangle in Beverly Hills — “I waited

tive launched his culinary ca-

all day for an interview that lasted 45 sec-

reer almost by accident. “At 19,

onds,” Becerra says — and later arranged for

I stumbled into the Cadillac

the budding chef to work at Michelin-starred

Café. It was my first restaurant job,” he

38 spaces september/october 2009

That changed after a pivotal meeting with restaurateur Joachim Splichal, who was

restaurants in France and Spain. Returning to the U.S., Becerra went to

chef’s table

Heirloom Tomato Salad Serves 8 4 heirloom tomatoes (use four different varieties) 24 cherry or Sweet 100 tomatoes (or a combination) 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon Banyuls vinegar

(a mellow vinegar from the Banyuls-sur-Mer region of France)

1 cup wild arugula 4 ounces hard sheep’s-milk cheese, shaved Rinse and pat dry tomatoes. Oven-dry the cherry or Sweet 100 tomatoes at 300° for 1 hour. Meanwhile, cut heirloom tomatoes into different sizes and shapes and place Photo: John McCoy

on platter. Arrange oven-dried tomatoes on and around the heirlooms. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with arugula and shaved cheese.

work for the Patina Group, becoming ex-

ergistic relationship between the wine shop

ecutive chief and a partner in Pinot Bistro in

and the restaurant, and 90 percent of the

Studio City. He was instrumental in opening

value-driven wines in the restaurant can be

several other Patina Group restaurants and

purchased in the wine shop.”

training chefs until his departure in mid-

Although other restaurateurs are daunt-

2005. “It was just time to move on,” Becerra

ed by the down economy, Becerra hopes the

says. “I was 40 years old, and if I didn’t pull

dampened real-estate market will give him

the trigger then, it would be more difficult at

the opportunity to expand. “I think it’s safe

45 and almost impossible at 50.”

to say that I’m not just a one restaurant kind

Palate represents Becerra’s first solo restaurant project, an enterprise with 26 investing partners. He describes the cuisine as “infused with a Mediterranean sensibility” using ingredients from local growers. “I have great reverance for ingredients and technique and letting the ingredients sing on the plate,” he says. The menu changes every Thursday, but always includes a signature “porkfolio” of cured meats, along with mason jars of patés or potted meats and fish. Entrees may include prosciutto-wrapped scallops, pork belly with stone-ground grits or prime beef with spring onion agrodolce. Wine director Steve Goldun has assembed a broad selection of wines from around the world, which can be paired with dinner, tasted at the bar or purchased at the shop in the rear of the restaurant. “We have a syn-

40 spaces september/october 2009


reservations recommended? dinner with wine for two

PALATE FOOD + WINE 933 S. Brand Blvd. Glendale 818/662-9463 Yes About $100

of a chef,” he says.


CHEF OCTAVIO BECERRA AGE: 45 HOMETOWN: Los Angeles COOKING STYLE: Mediterranean influence with locally sourced ingredients. FIVE COOKING STAPLES: Great olive oil, fleur de sel sea salt, farm-raised eggs, hand-made tortillas, his mother’s salsa. FAVORITE K KIT ITCHE ITCH CHEEN NG GA ADGET: ET ET: Truffle slicer. FAVORITE COO OOKBOOKS: “Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook,” by Alice Waters; “Ripailles,” by Stéphane Reynaud. FAVORITE DISH AT P PALATE: ATE ATE: Calamari with figs.

Simple Opulence got you



Functional Art

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hiGh tech home

DIY soda Turn tap water into sparkling water or even flavored soda in seconds. SodaStream Genesis offers an easy, environmentally friendly way to get fizzy beverages in your home. Blast water with CO₂ for fresh seltzer or use one of more than 60 flavors to create your own soda concoction. Kits start around $120

When English sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke

and include reusable BPA-free bottles.

wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is

indistinguishable from magic,” he must have been thinking about these products, which are as easy to use as a magic wand. —Holly Berecz

Digital dinner Tired of fumbling through stacks of cookbooks and envelopes of yellowed clippings to find that special recipe? Made by Key Ingredient Corp., the Demy Digital Recipe Reader puts up to 2,500 recipes at your fingertips. Readable vertically or horizontally, the 7-inch LCD touch screen is splash resistant and easy to clean. Priced around $300, it also offers substitution suggestions, a conversion calculator and three digital timers.

It’s a wash Mop and bucket, uncool. Floor washing robot, very cool! Scooba 380, the premium floor-washing model from iRobot, washes, scrubs, squeegees and dries hard floors while you watch TV or run errands. Washing up to four rooms on a single battery charge, it even cleans under cabinet edges, tables, chairs and other hard-to-reach-places. Sells for $500.

hiGh tech home

Handsome humidor A place to store stogies for true cigar aficionados, the XS 200 humidor covers the three vital elements of cigar preservation: humidity, temperature and hygiene. Designed with Liebherr’s signature sleek European styling, the stainless steel housing is lined with Spanish cedar wood and a soft-touch temperature panel. About $2,500.

Direct to DVD Streamline bulky VHS tapes or share movies and photos without a computer. The VRD-MC6, Sony’s next-generation multifunction DVDirect recorder, connects with virtually any camcorder, VCR or DVR to transfer high- or standard-definition home videos. Retailing for about $229, a 2.7-inch color LCD screen lets you preview video or up to six photos at a time.

46 spaces september/october 2009

Sound of silence Making meals with friends and family is fun, but not when you can’t communicate over the whirling clatter of the range hood. Space from Elica is the first range hood designed for your ears. Featuring patented Deep Silence technology, its sound-absorbing performance reduces noise by 35 percent. Priced at $4,200, the only thing more impressive than the way it doesn’t sound is its radically innovative appearance.

Modern simplicity Simple and traditional in form yet housing advanced technology, the PAPPA*Phone lets you use Voice Over Internet Protocol services like Skype or iChat on any Mac or PC. Made from solid brass and sustainable American walnut, the streamlined phone converts your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. The heirloom-quality wood-grain instrument requires no software installation. Priced at $300.

Frame by frame More than just a picture frame, this 8-inch sleek, modern design from Cevia is the world’s only connected digital photo frame. With an easy-to-use on-screen menu, it connects to the net to receive news, weather, “this day in history” calendar and even photos from family and friends. Includes interchangeable black and wood grain faceplates. Frame with one-year PicturePlan about $225.

september/october 2009 spaces 47

cause for applause

Architect James Heimler has incorporated sustainable elements into the kitchen and bath of his “eco-home,” one of five stops on a self-guided architects’ tour.

Take a self-guided tour of five architects’ homes in the San Fernando Valley, 11:30–4:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13. Cost is $35. For information and reservations,

Architects in residence

call the American Institute

Self-guided tour offers glimpse of AIA members’ eco-friendly homes


of Architects-San Fernando Valley at 818/907-7151.

spent more than a decade renovating his

Appropriately dubbed “Oak Shadows,” the

sensitive elements will be on dis-

1946 split-level residence into a state-of-

Japanese-inspired home features a series of

play Sept. 13, when five award-

the-art “eco-home.” A long-time proponent

pavilions tucked between the trees of an oak

reat design and environmentally

winning architects from the San Fernando

of sustainable design, Heimler incorporated

grove. Ample decks overlook waterfalls, koi

Valley open their own homes to the public.

recycled materials and energy-efficient tech-

ponds and even outdoor model trains.

The self-guided tour will feature both newly

nology as he added a kitchen and trans-

constructed and recently renovated homes,

formed other living spaces to integrate style

resemble a classic 18th century French vine-

Terry Lynn Downing designed her home to

offering a richly varied palette of styles. The

with the environment.

yard-farmhouse, with expansive windows

homes are located between Woodland Hills

offering views of the rustic Sherman Oaks

and Sherman Oaks, giving visitors ample

came with a bit of history when he bought it

hillsides. Her use of sustainable and recycled

time to appreciate the architects’ imagina-

nearly a decade ago. Previously owned by Son-

elements includes materials salvaged from Los

The Encino home of Kenneth David Lee

tive use of indoor and outdoor spaces and

ny and Cher during their heyday as a rock duo,

Angeles’ historic Ambassador Hotel.

gain inspiration from their designs.

the sprawling ranch-style house had been rav-

“This is not tract housing,” says Veronica

aged by fire and neglect and was destined for

Duffy’s “Barn on Beck,” a recently completed

Terpatsi, an architect and assistant to the

demolition. Lee salvaged the structure, then

5,000-square-foot home that evokes the rus-

director of the AIA’s Valley chapter, which

updated it with contemporary and energy-effi-

tic charm of a quaint New England farm. An-

is sponsoring the half-day event. “There’s

cient elements while maintaining the integrity

chored by a weather-vane-topped tower, the

The newest of the tour homes is Gus

of the original design.

sprawling five-bedroom home features clas-

very much a personal interpretation of each

Murray Siegel, an emeritus member of the

sic American Traditional styling and cutting-

architect for their craft.”

AIA chapter, lives above it all – literally– in a

edge conservation elements, including alter-

The western-most point of the tour is in

home that is raised on treated cedar poles to

native energy systems, renewable resources

Woodland Hills, where James Heimler has

span a stream bed in the hills above Encino.

and recycled materials.

48 spaces september/october 2009

— Barbara Jones

Photos: David Crane

a little bit of every kind of architecture. It’s

finishing touch

Deep Lake, Eden Series #5

Anthony Verity A lifetime spent studying the lines, curves and angles of the human body gives Dr. Anthony Verity an affinity for the lines, curves and angles of art. An emeritus professor of pathology at UCLA, Verity is also a selftaught sculptor and painter who captured the gold medal at a Valley Artists Guild juried exhibition this spring. His winning painting, “Persimmon Mountain,” and “Deep Lake,” above, are part of a series depicting his surrealistic interpretations of the Garden of Eden. “I have an appreciation for patterns and lines that tends to move toward the abstract,” Verity says. Born and educated in England, Verity immigrated to the United States in 1959, about the same time he became interested in art. He became enamored of modern Japanese art, a motif that finds its way into many of his sculptures, paintings and one-of-a-kind cards. To see more of his work, visit

50 spaces september/october 2009

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SoCal Spaces v10  

Interior design and lifestyle magazine for Southern California

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