Up From the Ashes

We built it once, it burned in the Thomas Fire, we built it better the second time

In the fall of 2017 we completed this beautiful kitchen which shortly thereafter burned in the Thomas Fire.

The morning after the fire.

The morning after the Thomas Fire passed through Ventura there was no car access up into the hills where the fire did its damage. Family members who lived in the hills were out of town and unsure of what had happened to their homes, so I rode my bike up into the neighborhoods to assess. Of the hundreds of homes lost, one was this home we had completed just a month before.

Panoramic view from the location of the house the day after the fire.

Rebuilt and Occupied!

Gray and white thermafoil cabinets, corner sink

Gray and white thermafoil cabinets, corner sink

Resiliency of Ventura

Not long after the fire had been extinguished and before the rebuild had really picked up any momentum, the owner and the contractor contacted us about rebuilding exactly as we had before with a few minor changes. We were, of course, excited to be part of the Ventura rebuild and worked with them to be one of the first homes on the hill to successfully achieve occupancy after the Thomas Fire.

Thanks to MSI Construction for the opportunity to redo this kitchen, and Raya Carlisle for the photos.

An Airy East End Ventura Transformation

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.

A Contemporary Home in Somis, CA

Style for Days

We worked with Olsen and Sons on this kitchen in Somis, CA. We're proud to collaborate with great builders on the Central Coast, and Olsen and Sons is no exception.

Waterfall countertops, driftwood color floors, painted shaker cabinets. This kitchen is 👌

Ventura Hills Remodel

We build our cabinets to last

But some materials are more durable than others. Some cabinet materials are better suited for having small kids or pets in the house. You may want to rethink those alder cabinets with applied molding, solid panel, doors if you have toddlers running around the house licking cookie batter off of spoons. We all know those sticky fingers grasp doors and climb up drawers any way they can.

Laminate Cabinets

If you're in this situation, a laminate material might be for you. Stop thinking about the ugly cabinets in your doctor's office. Those are most likely laminate, yes, but it's not the only solution. Believe it or not, this kitchen is using laminate cabinets:


There is plenty of warmth and charm with a well-chosen laminate

Here we are using "thermafoil" shaker style doors in a soft-white color. The thermafoil - which is a process that wraps an mdf door in a thick plastic foil, is designed for residential use and is really really durable.

The thermafoil is intended to look like a natural material, but of course combining it with the natural floors and the butcher block countertop helped tie the look together and give it a "painted" shaker look and feel.

Check out more pictures from this kitchen below.

A Classic Coastal Home in the Pierpont Ventura Neighborhood

We've been excited to share this home with you. The Ventura beach community of Pierpont is near and dear to our hearts, and this is a special installation for Native Oak. The timeline of this custom home echoes the timeline of Native Oak as a business, and we've been working with the owners from the very beginning. We decided to hire local rockstar photographer, Raya Carlisle, for the installation because we knew the photos needed to be perfect to convey the beauty, details, and the careful design that went into it.

Beauty and details - these wood shelves add a nice little touch

Making use of accessories

Our designers and owners were intimately involved in the layout and function of the kitchen, bathrooms, closets, pantry, and laundry. It was the vision of the owners that we were endeavoring to realize with our designs, and I think we were able to capture what they wanted in the end product.

It was important to the owners that the kitchen not only seamlessly integrate with the house and be beautiful, but that it is functional as well. So we carefully planned to use some of the newest kitchen cabinet accessories to maximize their space.

Making use of awkward space - this cabinet next to the range was too small to be useful, but this accessory pullout solved that

Solving a tricky corner

No one likes a dead corner. We used this pull-out to solve it.

Kitchens we have installed

Check here for some of our kitchen work, or go to nativeoak.com/blog for more

Mid-town Ventura Modern Take on 1950s Kitchen

This customer knew what she wanted and it was not from this decade. Featuring all new vintage looking Big Chill appliances in red, and inset face frame cabinets in white paint, this kitchen screams 1950s.