Cass Calder Smith's firm, CCS Architecture, has been building and renovating modern spaces for almost 20 years. The San Francisco-based firm concentrates on commercial and residential projects, as well as kitchen design. A native of New York City, Cass has lived in California since 1972. The son of an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and a California landscape painter and designer, his childhood was influenced by both Greenwich Village intellectuals and rural California artisans, and he draws inspiration from history’s great architects and cities as well as the epic filmmakers of the last century. Cass was kind enough to answer some questions about Sunset magazine's Dream Kitchen, as well as kitchen design in general.
To check out the interview,
CasaSugar: How did Sunset come up with the idea for the Dream Kitchen?
Cass: It's an offshoot of their dream house, but more specific. It also has an interactive design process that connects the design to their readers.
CasaSugar: Who owns the dream house?
Cass: DeMattei Construction is building the house as a spec home. It will be sold once the kitchen is completed. Right now, everything in the home is finished except for the kitchen.
CasaSugar: What is the architectural style/features of the San Jose home where the dream kitchen will be installed?
Cass: It's a new house with a Craftsman look and feel. The house is about 3,300 square feet with four bedrooms and four baths.
CasaSugar: What features do you think are essential for a home kitchen?
Cass: Everyday livability. It needs to be a social space for a family to do much more than cooking and eating. The Dream Kitchen is connected and fully open to the family room, so it's very much a large family room with a kitchen in it. Aside from that, the appliances and the cabinet configurations are very important.
CasaSugar: What do you think is extraneous for a home kitchen?
Cass: I don't like overly fancy finishes that are not in sync with the rest of the house.
CasaSugar: What are three things that every home owner should add if the kitchen is being renovated?
Cass: 1) Island for prep; 2) a second sink for clean up with its own dishwasher; 3) sexy/functional appliances.
CasaSugar: What flooring do you prefer for kitchens?
Cass: I like whatever is also being used in the adjacent rooms or areas . . . this tends to be wood, but I also like slab stone if it's honed.
CasaSugar: What do you see as smart new kitchen trends?
Cass: Appliance garages, nice hoods that add rather than detract, walk-in pantries, overall design as social spaces.
CasaSugar: I love the simplicity of the Pt. Reyes kitchen on your website; are you a fan of open shelving, such as the shelving shown in this home’s kitchen?
Cass: Yes I am, because most kitchens have lots of doored cabinets. Open shelving opens a kitchen up, and exposes the home owner's lifestyle, making it more casual.
CasaSugar: What are you hoping to see in the future in terms of kitchens in your work?
Cass: I'd like to see more specific kitchens that are related to each client's dreams and desires. For me, this means live fire cooking.