ISSUE 48  |  LA Story

Steal This Look: An Exotic Tiled Kitchen by LA Design Firm Commune

December 02, 2014 10:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

Brother and sister team Ramin and Pamela Shamshiri collaborate often. Ten years ago the siblings, along with Roman Alonso and Steven Johanknecht, founded Commune, the LA design collective whose name is synonymous with edgy California style–think Ace DTLA Hotel–and best illustrated in their recently published monograph, Commune.

One of their first collaborations was the design and renovation of Ramin’s own Spanish Colonial house in Los Feliz, a hillside neighborhood of Los Angeles. Inspired by the architecture of the house and by their travels to the Yucatan, the Netherlands, and Granada, the pair pulled together various eclectic references to create a sense of timelessness, something that’s become a signature Commune look. “We wanted it to feel like a chef’s kitchen, with a touch of the industrial,” Pamela says. “And we wanted it to seem as if it could have been there forever.” Here are some of Pamela’s tips for pulling the look together.

Photography by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

Above: The duo combined three roomsthe kitchen, the butler’s pantry, and the maid’s roominto one large kitchen/dining space. A field of antique white, three-by-six-inch Capriccio Rectangle Floor Tiles by Ann Sacks adds a sense of lightness to the dark and moody color palette. (For details on the tile, see below.) The custom kitchen cabinets feature doors and drawers inset into the frame–a detail seen in prewar cabinetry. “My brother was very specific about the color of the cabinets–he was inspired by a lacquered door we saw in the Netherlands and wanted to obtain the same depth,” Pamela says. “We arrived at the custom color after mixing 17 paint samples (Fine Paints of Europe).” The kitchen island has a dark walnut butcher block with a mineral oil finish similar to ones the pair admired in Spain.

Above: Pamela installed a new window over the sink; its arched shape matches an existing window in the living room.

Above: A live-edge dining table from Lawson Fenning is paired with a suite of Y-backed Hans Wegner CH24 Wishbone Chairs in black from Danish firm Carl Hansen & Son. The hard acoustics of the tiled surfaces are softened by the wood beams and by additional insulation in the ceiling.

Above: Glazed French doors lead directly from the kitchen into a sunken courtyard where Ramin and family can dine outside. A Pot Filler is installed on the wall to be close to the cooking. (See why Michelle thinks Every Kitchen Needs a Pot Filler.)

Above: The Viking appliancesFreestanding 48-Inch Range, Wall Hood, Side-by Side-Refrigerator/Freezer and Dishwasherlend the kitchen an industrial aesthetic.

Above: Open walnut shelving provides easy access to tea stored in Kakaido Tea Caddies and a contrasting texture to the tiled walls.

Above: A hard-wearing stainless steel counter–a favorite countertop material in restaurant kitchens–with integrated sinks is installed in the heavily trafficked food preparation and dishwashing area. In Remodeling 101: Stainless Steel Countertops, find out if this is the ideal work surface for you.

Above: In the glazed upper cabinets, the arch-shaped cutout references the Spanish Colonial influences of the rest of the house.

Above: Commune’s Porcelain Wall Socket has been upgraded with a nickel finish by custom lighting company Paul Ferrante.

Above: The 2038 Theo Hanging Fixture from Paul Ferrante has a customized nickel finish.

Above: The leather-covered midcentury bar stool, designed by Hendrik Van Keppel and Taylor Green, is from the Reform Gallery.

Above: Mirrors inset into the reclaimed, wire-brushed walnut pantry doors reflect the natural light that comes in from the courtyard. The Contemporary Grip Handles in an oil-rubbed bronze finish are from Sun Valley Bronze.

Above: Commune designed the concrete tiles and had them manufactured in Mexico. They’re part of Commune’s new collection of patterned concrete tiles called Native, created in collaboration with Exquisite Surfaces.

Above: In Commune, recently published by Abrams and available for $42.88, the firm documents 25 more of their projects in LA. The monograph is available in the UK through Amazon for £26.

See more Spanish Colonial charm in our posts LA Style, Artisan Edition and All Eras Welcome: A Spanish Colonial Update. And on Gardenista, The Ace Hotel Turns Tropical in Panama City.