A Bespoke Coffee Station Recalls the Java Dreams of a Couple’s Former Life in Brazil

A Bespoke Coffee Station Recalls the Java Dreams of a Couple’s Former Life in Brazil

Lalita Koehler and her partner, Fabio Costa, worked with the team at ras-a studio to design their award-winning home near Los Angeles.

Coffee is a big deal in Brazil. In fact, the country is currently the world’s largest producer of beans, with a history dating back to the sixteenth century, when the first coffee plant is thought to have been imported. São Paulo natives and L.A. transplants Lalita Koehler and Fabio Costa share the same ingrained passion for a fresh brew—particularly the cafézinho, a traditional Brazilian coffee drink. That’s why when the couple tapped ras-a studio to design them a new home in Manhattan Beach, they knew from the start that a dedicated coffee station was a must-have.

Lalita stands in front of the coffee nook in the couple’s kitchen—one of several details that relates to their shared Brazilian heritage. Her childhood was split between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, while Fabio grew up in São Paulo before moving to various cities around the world as part of his career in advertising.

"The home is a celebration of common spaces and family time, with lots of glass walls but still many private areas," says Lalita. "It was important for me that the finishes felt warm and welcoming, as well as nod to our mutual childhoods in Brazil." 

For the latter request, Lalitia and Fabio worked with ras-a studio to integrate specific details including a Tipuana tree in the front yard, colorful tiles along the rear facade, and a coffee nook in the kitchen. "We are coffee lovers and borderline fanatics about well-crafted, pure-blended beans," adds Fabio. "Before the home design was put onto paper, we knew an area specially dedicated to our favorite drink was a must."

A wall of full-height cabinetry spans one side of the kitchen, complete with inset shelving that provides a dedicated area for the couple’s coffee machine and mugs. The space also features a large central island and dining table overlooking the backyard pool.

"Coffee is such an integral part of the Brazilian culture," explains Lalita. "We are always inviting friends over to drink cafezinho, and the smell of freshly ground coffee is my favorite part." 

For Lalita and Fabio, a consistently well-made cup of coffee allows them to stay connected with these familiar rituals—especially as they’ve spent more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I’ve been drinking much more coffee," Lalita says. "It is a comforting mechanism, and I love that I can create a café-quality latte without leaving my kitchen."

The couple opted for a D™inamica LatteCrema™ Automatic Coffee and Espresso Machine from De'Longhi, which offers a built-in LatteCrema™ system for integrated milk frothing and can even make iced coffee.

For convenience and function, the couple sought out a machine that would not only satisfy their discerning taste buds but also adapt to their individual preferences. "I’m more of a coffee and milk person," says Lalita. "For me, simple is better—preferably just black—and I love a decaf espresso before bedtime," adds Fabio. 

The versatile Dinamica LatteCrema™ Automatic Coffee and Espresso Machine offers the couple options for creating over a dozen coffee house specialties, from a latte and cappuccino, to an espresso, iced coffee, and a flat white. "Lately, I’ve been having a latte in the morning and two or three more throughout the day," comments Lalita.

The automatic LatteCrema™ system also creates the perfect texture using plant-based alternatives, such as oat or almond milk, while the built-in conical burr grinder offers 13 settings for freshly ground coffee using beans of your choice.

"The Dinamica offers 18 recipes for espresso and specialty coffee drinks—all at the touch of a button," explains Doug Parkinson, a Product Expert at De'Longhi. "The system can also be adjusted to select how much foam or volume you want in milk-based drinks, while the MY Menu feature saves your personalized recipes for convenience and ease. Essentially, the machine automates the process and removes the normal, steep learning curve that is typical for at-home espresso machines."

Fittingly named the Courtyard House, the residence features a large outdoor space tucked underneath the cantilevered upper level, providing a quiet and shaded area for Lalita to enjoy her coffee breaks. Rotated masonry blocks extend from the courtyard wall to create succulent planters.

For more information about the Dinamica LatteCrema™ and other products from De'Longhi, please visit their website or check out @delonghi.na on Instagram.

Project Credits:

Designer: ras-a studio / @ras_a.studio 

This content was created by Dwell Creative Studio, the brand marketing arm of Dwell. 

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