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Angling for compliments

Angling the island's seating area makes sense on this generous island, and it nicely forms a raised, tucked away place below for the family pet. Placing the sink at an angle gets it out from the corner and conveniently positioned for chatting at the eating bar. Custom cabinets are by Mitch Ward. The floor plan is pictured at right.
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A local cabinetmaker I often work with swears he can always spot one of my designs by its use of angles. It’s not true. I don’t always put angles in my clients’ plans, but I have found that angles can help solve problems, like improving traffic flow or pulling together a work zone. Mostly though, I love using them because angles can contribute lots of excitement and panache to an otherwise ho-hum floorplan.

Two projects completed this year – a newly constructed Mediterranean-styled home in rural Penn Valley and a kitchen remodel with a Mission flavor in town – feature angles in their floor plans implemented in different ways.

Let’s go visit.



A spectacular house with a spectacular view, Brad and Nicole Warrick’s lovely hilltop home visually delights the eye. Step into the sunny foyer and the open plan welcomes you with its arched walls and spacious size.

Built for their growing family, Hannah, 2, and Jacob, 6 months, the Warricks worked closely with general contractor Greg Gallup to achieve an elegant but still very comfortable family home




The kitchen’s focal point is the richly stained central island – a distinctive contrast to the buttercream color painted cabinetry at the kitchen’s perimeter. The decorative door style and handcrafted turned posts bring an “Old World” furniture feeling to the island.

Deeply clipping the seating area’s corner softens the island’s angularity and ties in the design with the 45-degree sink placement across the way.

In Nevada City, empty nesters Frank and Karen Chizek’s almost 20-year-old kitchen was ready for a transformation. Poor lighting, dated cabinets and appliances that needed replacing convinced them that it was time to remodel.

Crisp white appliances were chosen to set off the warm oak cabinets and wood floor, and a beautiful granite slab counter wraps around the kitchen. Enlarging their kitchen space was made possible by bumping the bar down toward the recent dining room addition. The new kitchen’s design, with its raised angled bar and angled stacked ovens, is much more functional than the previous cramped layout.

“The new kitchen looks so great,” Karen told me, “that we had to go out and buy all new dining room and living room furniture!” It’s a perfect space for both formal and more relaxed entertaining, with the kitchen comfortably tucked between the living room and the more casual family room, located down a trio of steps past the bar.

The Chizek’s master bathroom is next in line for remodeling. Wonder if I can angle in that new soaking tub …

Karen Austin, Grass Valley, certified kitchen designer and home economist, has designed area kitchens and baths since 1983. You can reach her at Creative Kitchens and Baths, 272-4963.


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