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“Everyone touches the kitchen,” says Pamela Shamshiri. Before the workday starts, you’ll find the Iranian-born principal designer in her ‘office kitchen’ preparing a Persian breakfast spread: feta cheese, eggs, and “lots of things to nibble on for hours.” The enviable space, tucked inside a 1920s Spanish Colonial building on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, is the heart of Studio Shamshiri—a widely-admired multidisciplinary design firm opened by Shamshiri and her brother, Ramin, in 2016. As much a storyteller as she is a designer, Shamshiri’s narrative-driven and research-heavy approach comes to life in both residential buildings (like Anne Hathaway’s historic Californian country home) and commercial properties (like the eccentric, more-is-more Maison de la Luz hotel in New Orleans). After a year of near constant cooking and working from our dining tables, our kitchens are starting to feel as tired as we are. An expert in breathing life into any space, we enlisted Shamshiri to school us on mixing metals, balancing form and function, and incorporating natural materials like wood and slate.
1. Commit to Color
When updating an existing kitchen, a bit of color works wonders. In this Manhattan home, Shamshiri added new fronts to the standard developer cabinetry and painted them an unexpected shade of mustard. Want something similar? Try Backdrop’s Pablo Honey.
Get the Look:
Backdrop Pablo Honey Paint
Wooden Counter and Bar Stools
2. Lean into Wood
“We’re moving more and more toward wood,” says Shamshiri, who finds the naturally occurring grain of bleached walnut or oiled oak to be timeless. In this La Jolla, CA, home, Shamshiri complements wood cabinets with green slate countertops and metals like copper Waterworks faucets and a stainless steel Wolf Dual Fuel range.
Get the Look:
Crue Kitchen Faucet by Kohler
Brighton Floating Wood Shelf
3. Skirt the Problem
Traditionally used to mask plumbing or storage in country kitchens, sink skirts “can hide a lot of things,” Shamshiri says of the vintage Indonesian fabric she hung beneath the kitchen sink at her L.A. office. DIY’ers can use a tension rod and a sewing machine.
Get the Look:
Handwoven Indonesian Fabric
4. Mix Your Metals
Top-quality equipment doesn’t have to sacrifice style. For the Ojai, CA, home of Anne Hathaway, Shamshiri went with a handcrafted La Cornue Château 120 range with a pale gray finish and mixed-metal trim. But she’ll often go even bolder, choosing bright appliances by Lacanche. (We also love Smeg.)