San Diego Home/Garden Magazine (January 2018) – “Pine Away”


La Jolla, CA


"Pine Away"


Eva Ditler


January 2018


Matthew Meier

Looking Up: Four Kitchen Designs Tap into the Ceiling

By playing up a La Jolla kitchen’s warm wood tones against a cool white background, architect Ione Stiegler, FAIA and project manager Sandra Escobedo of IS Architecture mirrored the home’s wooded lot location.

Seemingly also taking its cue from the woodsy atmosphere, a ceiling sheathed in pine proved instead to be an oversaturation of the material and a drawback.

“The pine ceiling absorbed the reflective daylight and darkened the interior,” Ione says. “By switching out the pine with white sheet rock and maintaining the original exposed beam work, we got the best of both worlds: the warmth and character of wood along with a maximum of light reflection.”

Illumination also spills from added skylights and numerous windows. Kitchen angles presented an opportunity for openings on three sides – to the dining room, the covered eating patio and to the hall and family room – while still allowing enough wall space for a work triangle and a breakfast nook.

“The prior design also had a trio of openings,” Ione says. “But each was limited to a 3-foot-wide doorway. Now they are big cased openings: 6-foot-wide access to the dining room, 8-foot-wide sliding glass doors to the patio and a more-than 10-foot-wide entry to the family room.”

The new entranceways flow easily from space to space, while a better configuration for the peninsula provides a more direct route to the patio.

“A fresh, clean Caesarstone was chosen for the countertop,” Ione says, “while a slate-and-glass mosaic backsplash that combines white, gray, tan and brown hues ties the design together by playing to the warmth of mahogany, as well as the light tones in the countertop.

“I love that there is a crisp contrast between the wood and the nonwood elements,” she continues. “Among my favorite things are the way the family room now connects with the kitchen and that the makeover allows for views and natural daylight from all sides.”


Left: Architect Ione Stiegler lightened a kitchen by replacing an all-pine ceiling with white sheet rock and adding skylights. Existing beams were stained to blend with mahogany cabinets.

Right: Working with the home’s unusual angles, one side of the kitchen was opened to a new family room addition.