In 1974 — the year Renata Kanclerz and Lisa Coleman’s Hollywood Hills kitchen was previously remodeled — dark plywood cabinets, butcher-block counters and red brick backsplashes were considered cutting edge.
Three decades later, however, those materials were too old to be hip and too young to be historic.
So last year, Kanclerz and Coleman tore out that kitchen and replaced it with today’s version of ultramodern: light-stained birch cabinets, quartz composite counters, porcelain floor tiles and a stunning stainless steel woven backsplash.
Though the old kitchen was worn out before the remodel, that was not a problem when Coleman, a musician who scores TV shows, bought the distinctive 1927 French Normandy home in 1986.
The kitchen had some nice qualities, especially the bank of original French windows over the sink and a cozy breakfast nook. But poor design had put a large pantry cabinet between the nook and kitchen, isolating it and blocking natural light.
Kanclerz figured the previous kitchen renovation was a homeowner-handyman special, and that suspicion was confirmed when, once they began their own remodel, a "time capsule" was discovered hidden behind the cabinets.
The capsule included some marijuana and a handwritten note predicting that President Nixon would be impeached, and it named the gaggle of friends who were living in the house (all of whom the note said had voted for Sen. George McGovern) and those who were working on the kitchen. "This is ridiculous," the note concluded.
It took Coleman and Kanclerz some time, however, to get to that demolition. The project languished as they were beset with indecision — even though they pulled out $100,000 when they refinanced four years ago intending to redo the kitchen.
The two were spurred into action last year when Coleman became pregnant with their daughter, August. They didn’t want her growing up in a kitchen with plywood doors and drawers held together with gaffer’s tape. "That was the impetus," Kanclerz said. "It really propelled us."
Kanclerz started the project by looking on the Internet and in magazines for a sense of what she and Coleman would like and tore out pages and put them in a notebook. "When we went to the appliance store," she said, "I had my book."
Once they knew the kind of kitchen they wanted — modern and unique but compatible with the style of their vintage home and with a Viking or Wolf range — they sought out designers. Bradco Kitchens had been featured on the "Designers’ Challenge" home improvement show and the two liked what they saw.
Still, they dreaded their home being torn up and the project stalled. Then one Sunday, Kanclerz said to Coleman: "Come on, we’ve got to bite the bullet," and they walked into the Bradco showroom.