We've all been programmed to strive for perfection when it comes to creating kitchens," says L.A. architect Steve Giannetti (giannettiarchitects.com). "But kitchens aren't for performing surgerythey don't have to be perfect and antiseptic." Giannetti and his wife, Brooke, an interior designer, ignore convention and go for a more natural, time-worn look in the kitchen. They purposefully use materials that change with age, like Calcutta marble walls, mahogany countertops and pine floorsdespite the protests of clients who fear dents, scratches and cracks. Steve reassures them: "We even have a wood floor outside our shower, and it's perfectly fine." Here, the Giannettis explain how they use design elements to give kitchens a lived-in feel. "If you wrap your sofa in plastic, it's going to be perfect," Steve says. "But who wants to live like that?"
Kitchen Ideas: Details
The Giannettis always choose surface-mounted ceiling lights. "The effect is much warmer," says Brooke. For a client's house in L.A. (above, right), the duo illuminate the prep island with a pair of metal Hudson Valley Pelham pendants ($850 each; 1800lighting.com) and use Kellogg fixtures ($85) with hexagonal glass shades ($28) for the rest of the space. rejuvenation.com.
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The prep island has a mahogany counter; the rest of the countertops are granite, as is the sink.