Modern Zen Kitchen

Designer Yuko Matsumoto combines contemporary and Asian styles for a sophisticated, streamlined kitchen design.

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For this Walnut Creek, Calif., remodel, designer Yuko Matsumoto uses clean-lined cabinetry and a stunning emerald green backsplash to create a stylish and functional kitchen.

We caught up with Matsumoto to find out how he tackled design challenges and incorporated the homeowners' goals into the kitchen.

Describe the homeowners' wishlist.

The goal was to create a beautiful, functional and spacious area for a serious home chef to perform his art of cooking. They also wanted to incorporate modern, Asian design influences to match with the rest of the house, as well as manage the kitchen clutter that overtakes the kitchen.


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What were the homeowners' design problems?

We agreed that we needed to add a peninsula to this previously U-shaped kitchen to create more prep and cooking space.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

They wanted to revamp the kitchen to not just match the rest of the house, but to surpass it. We specified numerous design details to create a dramatic look: rich emerald-colored, counter-to-ceiling glass mosaic backsplash tile, two-toned cabinetry, frosted glass wall cabinets, bamboo motif moldings on appliance garage cabinet doors and red pendant lights.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

I think the end result surpassed our original vision.

What lessons did you learn?

This project reminded me that paying attention to details is the key to the successful design.

What are the "hidden gems"?

To create a furniture-like effect on the new peninsula, legs of a contrasting color were added on two sides of the peninsula. The green glass mosaic backsplash tile around the hood is purposefully smaller and set vertically to mimic the look and feel of bamboo.

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