Architect Takashi Yanai’s Los Angeles kitchen is the size of his clients’ walk-in closets. A partner at Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (and a graduate of Harvard’s School of Design), Yanai, who was born in Japan and grew up in Santa Monica, oversee’s the firm’s residential projects: he’s a master at designing clean-lined California dream houses that are all about indoor-outdoor living.

His own recently remodeled 1950s ranch house, while much more modest in scope, is a microcosmos of the Yanai sensibility: Japanese formalism meets barefoot LA. We discovered Yanai’s place in Creative Spaces, the Poketo team’s just-published first book, and rushed to feature it: see LA Noir: Takashi Yanai’s Humble-Chic Bungalow. Today, we’re returning to take a closer look at the kitchen and its lessons in spatial economics and understated style.

Photography by Ye Rin Mok, from Creative Spaces.

Yanai and his wife, architect Patricia Rhee (also a partner at EYRC specializing in civic and public spaces) and their two children have lived in their src=
Above: Yanai and his wife, architect Patricia Rhee (also a partner at EYRC specializing in civic and public spaces) and their two children have lived in their 1,500-square-foot house for eight years, and remained put while Yanai was transforming it—”we set up a temporary kitchen in the garage,” he tells us.

After stripping the living area to its bare bones, Yanai put up a partition finished with marine plywood that neatly divides the new kitchen from the living room. And in place of what had been a “tired suburban kitchen,” he installed a single-sided galley using components from top-of-the-line German modular cabinetry company Bulthaup. Yanai combined these with a back storage wall of marine plywood, which conceals the fridge. And because the family was in need of a place to work, instead of building in a table or a cooking island, he added a bookshelf and desk—a Danish-modern teak flip-top design by Peter Lovig Nielsen—and turned the other half of the room into a study. Yes, there’s also a dining table with a view (see below).

The linoleum-faced cabinets and stainless-steel counter and sink are from Bulthaup&#8
Above: The linoleum-faced cabinets and stainless-steel counter and sink are from Bulthaup’s B3 line. “I opted to go without any handles, so the space has a minimal, sculptural quality à la Donald Judd,” says Yanai. The faucet is by Fantini.

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