Bruce Bolander on Kitchen Design

written by:
June 14, 2011

Architect Bruce Bolander designs houses with, generally, very awesome kitchens. He's not afraid of color, and likes to clad his clients' cabinets with laminate in bright and electric hues. "My own bias is toward bolder cool colors," he says. "I always let my clients know that right away. But just because red isn’t my favorite color doesn’t mean they can’t have a red kitchen. Either way, I try to have a fairly uniform and limited palette of color and material in the kitchen. Kitchens tend to gather so much clutter and I find that starting off with clean and simple helps when the clutter occurs." Here, we've gathered together some of our favorite of Bolander's kitchen designs, both bold and more muted, and asked him to tell us a bit about each project. If you like what you see, come see Bolander speak in Los Angeles at Dwell on Design on June 25th on the Design Innovation Stage.

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  "This is the Beauvoir House, located in Las Flores Canyon in Malibu," says Bolander. "The color was influenced by the color of the new growth on the chaparral that surrounds the house. The house and kitchen are both very small; the house is about 1600 square feet."
    "This is the Beauvoir House, located in Las Flores Canyon in Malibu," says Bolander. "The color was influenced by the color of the new growth on the chaparral that surrounds the house. The house and kitchen are both very small; the house is about 1600 square feet."
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  "We wanted a strong connection to the outdoors. This is a cliché and every project in L.A. talks about that connection, but in this case the adjacent canyon wall forms a sort of amphitheater. Because of the steepness of the canyon slopes that ‘wall’ is very immediate to the house and the outdoor dining area especially."
    "We wanted a strong connection to the outdoors. This is a cliché and every project in L.A. talks about that connection, but in this case the adjacent canyon wall forms a sort of amphitheater. Because of the steepness of the canyon slopes that ‘wall’ is very immediate to the house and the outdoor dining area especially."
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  "The budget on this house was small so the appliances actually came out of another project that we did for a pretty hardcore vegan who didn’t want them because meat had been cooked on them by the previous owner."
    "The budget on this house was small so the appliances actually came out of another project that we did for a pretty hardcore vegan who didn’t want them because meat had been cooked on them by the previous owner."
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  "The Gartner House is in Venice and as this photo indicates, it's on the canals. The kitchen trades privacy for a connection to the canals. It is also integral to the main space of the house."
    "The Gartner House is in Venice and as this photo indicates, it's on the canals. The kitchen trades privacy for a connection to the canals. It is also integral to the main space of the house."
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  "This kitchen cabinets are finished with flat lacquer as none of the laminate colors worked with the house’s color/material palette and the client had a bit of an aversion to laminate. The countertops are a material that is used for science lab tops. Very durable and a great solidity but frankly not very forgiving to work with."
    "This kitchen cabinets are finished with flat lacquer as none of the laminate colors worked with the house’s color/material palette and the client had a bit of an aversion to laminate. The countertops are a material that is used for science lab tops. Very durable and a great solidity but frankly not very forgiving to work with."
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  "The Carter House is in Mandeville Canyon in Los Angeles and is a kitchen for an avid cook. The appliances were each selected for their performance, without regard for whether or not the handles matched. When we designed the house we met at the clients’ previous house during the evening and he would cook as we discussed the house design. The kitchen was for sure the main driver for the spatial relationships of the house, and along with the oak trees on site was the main contributor to the form of the house."
    "The Carter House is in Mandeville Canyon in Los Angeles and is a kitchen for an avid cook. The appliances were each selected for their performance, without regard for whether or not the handles matched. When we designed the house we met at the clients’ previous house during the evening and he would cook as we discussed the house design. The kitchen was for sure the main driver for the spatial relationships of the house, and along with the oak trees on site was the main contributor to the form of the house."
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  "Besides being designed for entertaining large numbers, it is also part of the main space of the house where the couple and their four kids would gather. In this family everyone had pretty defined roles: the husband picked up fresh ingredients on his way home from work and then did the cooking; the wife did the cleanup; the kids ate and did their homework. We really discussed each role and formed the space to fit."
    "Besides being designed for entertaining large numbers, it is also part of the main space of the house where the couple and their four kids would gather. In this family everyone had pretty defined roles: the husband picked up fresh ingredients on his way home from work and then did the cooking; the wife did the cleanup; the kids ate and did their homework. We really discussed each role and formed the space to fit."
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  "The Collier house is located in Newport Beach and is for a couple with two kids. Kind of a young power couple of sorts: she is the founder of Urban Decay cosmetics and he is the CFO of Volcom. Their brief to me for the house was that they loved color, and they wanted a happy place that was very utilitarian."
    "The Collier house is located in Newport Beach and is for a couple with two kids. Kind of a young power couple of sorts: she is the founder of Urban Decay cosmetics and he is the CFO of Volcom. Their brief to me for the house was that they loved color, and they wanted a happy place that was very utilitarian."
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  "The kitchen is laminate with Corian and the appliances are Viking because the colors Viking offered worked with the color palette for the house. Wende (the wife) and I really spent a lot of time on color for the house and the kitchen was one of the first things we worked on. Her sense of color (due to her business really) is quite detailed. We had Modernica powder coat the barstool hardware to work with the kitchen palette."
    "The kitchen is laminate with Corian and the appliances are Viking because the colors Viking offered worked with the color palette for the house. Wende (the wife) and I really spent a lot of time on color for the house and the kitchen was one of the first things we worked on. Her sense of color (due to her business really) is quite detailed. We had Modernica powder coat the barstool hardware to work with the kitchen palette."
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  "They asked that the house be able to be hosed out. They are avid surfers so there is an outdoor shower and surfboard rack; in fact the only bathroom downstairs is outdoors. This kitchen is also part of the main space of the house and is central to family life."Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our  FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!
    "They asked that the house be able to be hosed out. They are avid surfers so there is an outdoor shower and surfboard rack; in fact the only bathroom downstairs is outdoors. This kitchen is also part of the main space of the house and is central to family life."

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