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Bon Appétit! Designer's Kitchen Takes a European Holiday

This project was featured in Best of Today's Interior Design by Tina Skinner and in KS Style magazine

What do you get when you ask an award winning garden designer - who is also a skilled ceramicist, wine aficionado, and European enthusiast - to remodel your kitchen? If you're Lisa Cohen and your designer also happens to be your devoted husband, Scott Cohen, you get a kitchen that invites a stroll down the cobblestone street of a charming old world market town. Kitchen Before 2
Kitchen After 2
Scott Cohen is best known for his acclaimed work in outdoor design with his California based firm, The Green Scene. This time, though, Cohen decided to turn his attention indoors by tackling his own kitchen. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the result is a functional kitchen that makes you feel as if you’re…well, outside.

“In designing outdoor spaces, I usually find ways to bring the indoor lifestyle outside,” says Cohen. “But when I design for the indoors, I often find myself bringing the outdoors in.”

In this case, the outdoors is a European city complete with cobblestone flooring, a canopied market cart, and cabinetry that masquerades as a row of quaint shops – one even topped by real Mediterranean-style roof tile.


“I made the roofing in my ceramic studio,” says Cohen, an accomplished sculptor and ceramics artist. “I wanted to create a roof with curved tiles of real terracotta clay. I searched everywhere for some kind of doll house prefabricated tiles but with no success. Finally, I gave up and made them myself.”

Cohen used PVC pipe halves to cast plaster molds, then pressed strips of terracotta into the molds. “When the clay was leather hard, I cut it into the lengths I wanted,” says Cohen. “Then, when they were dry, I filed down the ends and sponged the finish to mimic real aged roofing tiles. There are 440 authentic terracotta clay tiles fired to cone 06 on that cabinet roof.”

Kitchen Before 3

Cohen integrated authentic details like this into every area of the remodel. Each cabinet and appliance has its own theme in this little city. A sign above the pantry beckons strollers to “Café de Cohen” and the water cooler is housed in “Benito”, a miniature Big Ben.

Kitchen After 3

The street’s market cart is actually a functional center island with wheels, glass front drawers, and rolling pin handles. Installed at an angle, the built-in cart looks deceivingly like it’s ready to roll to the next neighborhood. 

In Wine There Is Truth…and Fun

A market town wouldn’t be complete without a wine merchant’s shop. In the Cohens’ kitchen, this area houses the refrigerator, freezer, and ice maker behind custom panels carved into faux wine barrels. Each barrel sports a fine vintage – the birth years of the Cohens’ three children. The wine theme makes an appearance elsewhere in the kitchen as well. A large corkboard constructed of 1,185 wine corks is used for posting family notices, chores, and party invitations. An arched doorway framed with rustic brick practically calls out, “this way to the wine cellar!” and in fact leads to the Cohens’ wine cellar themed dining room.

Kitchen After 1

The sky’s the limit
A fresh, sunny blue sky, straight from a street in Provence, finishes off this European outdoor experience. For a smooth transition from wall to ceiling, Cohen used curved sections of custom Styrofoam molding. Each section was affixed between ceiling and wall, plastered with dry-wall compound, and sanded smooth to create an uninterrupted dome of sky. Varying shades of blue were feathered in and applied more intensely toward the top to reflect the changing light of real sky. Top lighting on the cabinets bathes the “sky” in warm light for a delicious sunny afternoon feeling day or night. 

While these aesthetic highlights offer the flavor of a long European holiday, functional details ensure that this family-friendly kitchen earns its keep. In the large pantry lights go on automatically when the doors are opened. Generous storage drawers and racks for oversized trays line the walls. In the main part of the kitchen, a rack for everyday dishes directly over the dishwasher means that plates go from table to sink to put-away with one arm's reach and no cabinet doors to open. An appliance garage keeps blender, mixer, and food processor out of view, while the slide-out garage platform frees up counter space. The market cart houses recycling bins and a trash compactor for quick and easy sorting. Kitchen Before 1 VivaTerra - Eco Living With Style

"Handy features for the kids help maintain peace and order in this busy home. Dedicated bins and drawers for each of the three children keep backpacks and school supplies available when it's homework time and tucked away when it's not. Photo frame knobs hold a picture of each child to identify the owner. A mini-fridge in the market cart keeps drinks and snacks handy and accessible for the smaller set.

Though Cohen doesn't plan to pursue a new career in interior design anytime soon, his kitchen remodel does reflect the wholehearted approach Cohen uses with any design project he undertakes.

About Scott Cohen and The Green Scene

Scott Cohen is President and Supervising Designer for The Green Scene, a premier outdoor design and construction firm based in the Los Angeles area. His work is featured on Home & Garden Television and in numerous national magazines and books. A Masters of Design Award Winner, Cohen is known for his spectacular gardens that combine the best of outdoor living with inspired artistic touches. Cohen's designs are available for purchase from Fetch-A-Sketch.com, a new ecommerce website that sells ready-to-use perspective drawings. For more information, contact The Green Scene at (800) 675-5296 or Scott.Cohen@GreenSceneLandscape.com.

This kitchen was also featured in KS Style magazine (below)

Cohen Kitchen