Eric Olsen layered lustrous finishes with warm wood surfaces to create an inviting space for friends and family.

After several years living at the same address in Newport Beach, California, architect Eric Olsen and his family were ready for a change. Rather than move, they decided to rebuild on the same plot—reorienting the new structure toward views of the Pacific Ocean and excavating 11 feet into the hillside to create a two-story sunken courtyard. The resulting floor plan allows natural light to flood the rear-facing living spaces, including a handsome kitchen that Olsen outfitted with moody hues of navy, grey, and wood tones.

Architect Eric Olsen imagined a space that employs contrasting colors, textures, and shapes to create a warm and inviting interior. One of many such details includes a custom light fixture above the island, which he designed in collaboration with Buzzell Studios.

Architect Eric Olsen imagined a space that employs contrasting colors, textures, and shapes to create a warm and inviting interior. One of many such details includes a custom light fixture above the island, which he designed in collaboration with Buzzell Studios. 

Photo by Dwell Creative Studio

“Our home is certainly modern in terms of the emphasis on rectangular forms, as well as clean, horizontal and vertical planes; yet, the combination of tactile and organic materials creates a warm feeling,” Olsen says. “For instance, we opted for steel windows and doors throughout the home, along with reclaimed French brick walls, stained Douglas fir ceilings, and dark-painted wall paneling—all of which works together to create a very textural, layered space.”

The kitchen features oak cabinets stained in a dark grey and navy tile from Heath Ceramics. These darker elements are balanced by the tongue-and-groove wood ceiling and floors, as well as ample sunlight entering through the steel-framed glass doors.

The kitchen features oak cabinets stained in a dark grey and navy tile from Heath Ceramics. These darker elements are balanced by the tongue-and-groove wood ceiling and floors, as well as ample sunlight entering through the steel-framed glass doors. 

Photo by Dwell Creative Studio

In many ways, Olsen’s material choices harken back to the overall philosophy he brings to each project. “I always like to combine a number of different materials that not only vary in texture and color but also relate to one another—for example, juxtaposing dark and light, or smooth and rough,” he explains. “The doors bring a ton of sunlight into the open-concept kitchen and living/dining room, so I designed the space with dark materials that would absorb instead of reflect a lot of that light.”

Flanking both sides of the backsplash are grey Heath tiles that were installed backwards to reveal the unglazed side. Leathered granite countertops add yet another contrasting texture within the space.

Flanking both sides of the backsplash are grey Heath tiles that were installed backwards to reveal the unglazed side. Leathered granite countertops add yet another contrasting texture within the space. 

Photo by Dwell Creative Studio

See the full story on Dwell.com: An Architect’s Dream Kitchen Channels SoCal’s Laid-Back Vibes With a Fusion of Homey Materials
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