It’s Always Summer in This Kitchen

One lucky California family cooks indoors—and out—in all seasons.

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Karyn Millet

There's no question that the Britt family’s airy California kitchen is photo-ready: white-oak shelving, Calacatta Gold marble for miles. But owner and designer Molly Britt wants to be clear about one thing: It’s not just for show. Between Britt, her husband, their four kids, and extended family and friends, “There is lots of cooking going on, lots of activity, lots of kids,” she says. “We live in it—there’s nothing contrived or done just for a look.”

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Karyn Millet

Britt and architect Eric Olsen (who, coincidentally, grew up just a few houses away) worked together on the kitchen, the heart of a ground-up construction project that replaced a smaller home the family used to live in on the same lot. Britt had dreamed about this room for a decade. “She wanted a big kitchen that was really nice looking but also welcoming and not pretentious in any way,” Olsen explains. Enter a blue-green dining nook that reflects the darker tones of the open living room, an outdoor eating area and fireplace (with landscape design by Garden Studio Design), and a dedicated coffee station for the self-avowed latte lovers. “Eric is modern,” says Britt of the architect, “and I’m more traditional and warm.” Inspired by an Alabama kitchen by Bates Corkern Studio featured in House Beautiful in 2015, they went for a combo of warm wood and cool marble for the design. Perfect for soaking up all that California sunshine.

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Karyn Millet


Just Enough Niche

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Karyn Millet

“I love the continuity of materials from the outside coming inside,” says Olsen of the long brick wall that surrounds a cozy breakfast alcove. Britt painted the space in Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue, a green-blue that brought out the art. The lion and hydrangeas were painted by her 14-year-old daughter, Lily; all others are flea-market finds.


Coffee Bar as Art Piece

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KARYN R MILLET

The family splurged on an Italian coffee machine by Faema, which Britt says is “almost a piece of art.” The designated coffee-and-drink station (that’s a water-bottle filler on the right) means “somebody can be there making coffee and not underneath my feet,” Britt says. Open shelving is reserved for her prized collection of ceramics by Astier de Villatte.


Open-Door Policy

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KARYN R MILLET

“It was all about creating one big space,” Olsen says of the dining pergola. “It really extends the kitchen.” Britt says the family eats outside “when it’s nice”—which, in Southern California, “is most of the time.”


Seating Everywhere

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KARYN R MILLET

The original home had a backyard with a fireplace that was so popular, Britt insisted on this second one upstairs, off of the master bedroom, as well as a fire pit on the patio. “There’s a place for them and their kids,” says Olsen.


The Uncluttered Open Concept

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KARYN R MILLET

A concealed hood and plenty of closed storage keeps the kitchen from visually spilling into the adjacent living space.


A Brilliant Outdoor Kitchen

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Karyn Millet

Every piece of this dining space was carefully thought through: The fireplace doubles as an oven (the family had a custom metal spit made to roast meat), and a gas grill, just out of view to the right, is easily accessible from the kitchen sink, which has a foot pedal–operated faucet for when the griller’s hands are covered with barbecue sauce.

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Karyn Millet

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