Obsessive About Perfectly Planned Kitchens, this Longtime Designer’s Latest Project Will Make Your Heart Skip a Beat.
After nearly 40 years as a designer, West Hollywood-based Elaine Morrison can do it all—but her heart beats for kitchens and baths, her specialty. Kitchens, particularly, are where she shines. While she may not be the highest profile designer in WeHo, she’s one of those old-school under-the-radar phenoms regularly recommended through architects, contractors and clients—and she’s among the earliest adoptees of Houzz, too. Her skill lies in leaning into each project with the zeal of an investigative reporter, solving for factors that her clients might not have even considered. For instance, whether there’s space for a younger child to cook alongside a parent, precisely where a guest might set a wine glass during a party or where to place the outlets for the most convenient access. “I’m meticulous about the flow, having the proper distance between the island and the cabinetry and finding a place for absolutely everything,” she says.
For her latest contemporary stunner in the Carmel Highlands—which features top-line appliances from Miele and Sub-Zero—Elaine predetermined the placement of everything from the napkins to her client’s frequently used Ninja accessories. There’s a baking section, designated cabinets for liquor and glassware and spots for foils and baggies. Even a junk drawer is marked on her original drawings (let’s admit it, that’s a necessity!). Elaine also felt so strongly about the kitchen’s placement, layout and flow that, while the house was still mid-construction, she sent new drawings to the architect. Two walls were eliminated as a result.
The resulting clean, orderly, symmetrical kitchen is open to her client’s living and dining room, with stunning views of the water. Sub-Zero fridge and freezer columns—with fronts custom-matched to the dark wood Italian-made Aran Cucine cabinets—are flanked by Miele’s double oven, a speed oven, and a steam oven. There’s also a Miele induction cooktop on the island and two Miele dishwashers and a Sub-Zero wine fridge below the counters. For the countertops, Elaine chose a white Ceasarstone with polished white glass lower cabinetry underneath; “mood lighting” is installed below. And crystalline pendants from Studio Joseph Watts and glossy Edra barstools add some extra sparkle and shine to top it off.
Follow more of Elaine Morrison’s work at @elainemorrisoninteriors
Photos by Ryan Rosene
Written by Kelly Phillips Badal. Kelly is an L.A-based editor and writer specializing in interior design, whose work frequently appears in California Homes, LUXE Interiors + Design and Sunset. She's the former editor in chief of Interiors California.