Pamela

Pamela Shamshiri’s 7 Kitchen Design Essentials

Great barstools

When it comes to kitchen stools, it’s important to get it right. Shamshiri swears by the popular BassamFellows Tractor bar stools. The Square Guest stool by BDDW is another favorite. “This has become our new go-to stool because the legs don’t splay out,” she says. “Kids have an easier time with this one. It’s very indestructible and it’s more comfortable than it looks.”

Statement tile

Throughout Studio Shamshiri’s kitchens, you’ll see tile being used over and over again, in numerous forms, colors, and applications. In a Manhattan loft, BDDW tiles add a handcrafted touch. Shamshiri is also a big fan of zellige tile—“it’s one of the oldest processes as far as making tiles,” she explains. “There’s something appetizing and yummy about that.” 

Floors are another opportunity to create a striking tile moment. One project shows a black terra-cotta tile floor, while another features reclaimed cement tile in a white-and-yellow checkerboard pattern. Both materials were purchased from Exquisite Surfaces.

The appliances here are concealed behind walnut surfaces.

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Hardworking, integrated appliances

When it comes to appliances, Shamshiri has a handful of go-to tricks. One is integrating appliances to match the look of the surrounding cabinets. “If we want an industrial element, we embrace the stainless,” she says. “But normally we like things warm—most of the time we’re integrating.” When the firm does so, it tends to use Miele appliances, “because of the way they do their ventilation—it’s at the back and not at the top or bottom, so you can really achieve the seamless look,” she explains.

Another appliance feature she sees coming up more and more: steam ovens, or combination convection and steam ovens. Her favorite sources are Miele for the former and Thermador for the latter. “That is a welcome introduction to our kitchens,

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KAA Design and Pamela Smith Interiors Interweave Indoors and Out for a Southern California Abode

The main bedroom, with custom walnut bed and Jiun Ho upholstered bench, has a private courtyard featuring a reflecting pool and a Japanese ofuro soaking tub. Photography by Roger Davies.

Most empty nesters downsize. Not this couple: Rebuilding on the same Southern California property where they’d raised their three children, the duo upsized from around 6,000 square feet to 10,500—and did a complete about-face design-wise. Leading the clients on their journey from traditional to contemporary were L.A.–based architecture firm KAA Design and San Diego’s Pamela Smith Interiors. A full-fledged collaboration gave rise to what’s been dubbed the Tree House. 

A cedar garage door contrasts with the motor court’s wall of board-formed concrete. Photography by Roger Davies.

The trapezoidal site was, in a word, spectacular. Set on a promontory overlooking the Pacific Ocean about a mile away, the two acres were filled with mature oaks, Torrey pines, and magnolia trees—ergo the home’s sobriquet. “We didn’t want to just preserve the trees; we wanted to weave them into the architecture,” says Grant Kirkpatrick, who founded KAA more than 30 years ago to specialize in luxury residences. “We viewed the entire site as a canvas—for the house and for an
indoor-outdoor environment,” one that would encompass generous grassy lawns, a swimming pool, and even a bocce court.

The ground-level great room has retractable glass walls on two sides that open to create a breezeway. Photography by Roger Davies.

In terms of site planning, “our breakthrough was in re-envisioning how you come onto the property and approach the house,” KAA partner Duan Tran explains. “Rather than pulling off the street and directly into a garage, cars arrive via a romantic entry sequence.” The long and winding path threads through the trees and past a monumental board-formed concrete gate before arriving at a

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