As seen in Oakland Magazine:


Thinking Outside the Cabinet 

A baking aficionado, Regina Schaffer loved everything about her newly purchased 1920s-era house near Lake Merritt — except the room she needed most. “The kitchen was an afterthought made with leftover cabinets and tiles,” explains Rebecca Fulton, owner of Paragon Kitchen & Bath Studio in Oakland and lead designer on the project.

Schaffer knew she wanted to create a contemporary-style kitchen but wasn’t completely sure how to achieve it. She turned to the Paragon team, which also includes partner Elyse Hochstadt, armed with pictures depicting elements she wanted. “Usually compromises need to be made when renovating a kitchen,” says Fulton, “but in this case we were able to include everything on Regina’s wish list, thanks to her knowing what she wanted and her flexibility in allowing us to be creative about how it all came together.”


Thanks to such creative freedom, the team (that also included builder Michael Myers from Sonoma-based Maganda Construction and frequent collaborating project manager for Oakland jobs, David Worm) created a 4-foot-wide baking center adjacent to the oven. “I’ve created baking centers before for clients, but nothing like this one,” Fulton says. The center has a pop-up stand mixer, a generous work area and retractable doors that close off a mess should guests drop in unexpectedly.


Another unique feature is the one-of-a-kind doggy door for Schaffer’s two large housemates, her pit bull and German shepherd. “We were going back and forth on where to install the door when Regina half-jokingly suggested we keep the old dog door where it was but embed it in a cabinet,” recalls Fulton. “So we did. The retractable door closes when it’s not in use.”

Other elements include black Silestone quartz counters that resist stains and bacteria and 12-by-24-inch porcelain floor tiles from Cal Tile Company in Alameda that accentuate the kitchen’s length. White Shaker-style cabinets and dual pullout pantries from Showplace Wood Products create enough storage to keep clutter off counters yet put the chef’s accoutrements within reach. A custom 6-foot-by-18-inch peninsula doubles as a dining bar that’s narrow enough for complete access to appliances and workspaces. Low-hung, black-framed frosted glass windows diffuse light and add privacy from all-too-close neighbors. To complete the room’s contemporary look, its black-and-white contrast is set off against the striking ox blood–red accent wall and French doors, making this a kitchen that couldn’t be more different than the original in so many ways.

So what does Regina think of it? “I love my new kitchen. I cook all the time now and can never get people out of it. The dining room goes unused now.” 

Designer: Rebecca Fulton, Paragon Kitchen & Bath Studio, Oakland; Elyse Hochstadt, Paragon
Project Manager: David Worm, Oakland
Builder: Michael Myers, Maganda Construction, Sonoma
Photographer: Deborah Sherman, Oakland