White painted Shaker cabinets are popular for a reason...
Most of us in California have smaller homes, built in the construction boom of the 70s-90s. In those days, the idea was to build a Brady Bunch house. Lots of smaller rooms off the long hallway, the entire house clad in oak. This house on the east end of Ventura was no exception.
Two design priorities, brightness and openness
The couple who own the house have been there for decades, but they were feeling closed up and smothered. In coastal Southern California we live by the sunlight. Some days it's foggy and gray, some days it's bright and cheery, but our residential architecture hasn't always prioritized light. The small rooms and dark hallways we grew up with were a result of the compromises of architectural expediency vs integrity of design. In other words, it's cheaper to build it that way, good luck with the lighting.
These lovely people, though, wanted to be able to enjoy the light their windows bring in without feeling cluttered in their main living space. The first design priority was to remove a desk which had become a catch-all and locate their pantry in that area. This enabled us to open the kitchen, but still provide adequate storage for food items.
Use strategic storage to highlight what you have and remove clutter
Being an entertainer, a grandparent, and a parent means you accumulate a lot of stuff. And a lot of that stuff are things you need to play those roles. The design question became, how do we strategically store those things without cluttering the space we opened in the house? We built a couple of beautiful storage areas that had a display area above, and utilitarian storage below, and we integrated them into the living space.
The rest of the photos are here.