José Andrés slipped off his shoes in the gleaming white Spring Valley kitchen and stretched his toes on the oak floors.
“I love to cook in my bare feet,” said the Spanish-born celebrity chef, TV star and author, who runs a restaurant empire that includes Washington’s Jaleo and Minibar.
Andrés knows something about designing a kitchen. So when a friend, Madrid-based interior designer Marisa Ruiz, decided to open a branch of her interior design firm, Lalzada , in Washington, he signed on to be an investor and a culinary consultant. Because of his busy schedule, he will be involved only in major kitchen installations. So to get him to weigh in on specific refrigeration, ventilation hoods, ovens and maybe share his creamy rice with oxtail recipe, it will cost you more, based on the size and scale of your kitchen.
“I have often helped friends design their kitchens,” Andrés said. “When Marisa told me she was going to open in Washington, I said I could be available to her clients. They would be kitchens for people who love to cook at home.”
Ruiz is assembling a team for what is called Lalzada.USA to take on more projects here. “When I first came to Washington, it felt very familiar, very much like a European city, but it is so unique, so American,” she said. “We felt it was the perfect time to come to the United States with a partner office.” She chose Washington because she loves “the mix of international tastes and American sensibilities.”
Ruiz is currently designing a wine cellar for Andrés’s home in Bethesda.
The house in Spring Valley, a neighborhood in Northwest Washington, is Ruiz and Andrés’s first collaboration, and this house is also Ruiz’s first project in Washington. The kitchen, lined with white Poggenpohl cabinets, has white Silestone countertops, Flos pendant lights and Capdell Spanish white leather bar chairs. There are multiple ways to cook: Miele gas burners, Miele electric cooking plates, a Miele microwave/convection oven, a Wolf oven and a Gaggenau induction top. The SubZero refrigeration — including refrigerators, a wine cooler, a freezer and four refrigerator drawers in the center island — gives the owners, who have five children, lots of options.
“This kitchen is simple and spacious,” Andrés said. “The goal is to provide lots of ways to cook.” There is also a grilling and dining area outside.
So what kinds of features would clients expect to see in an Andrés kitchen? He likes lots of options for cooking and refrigeration, abundant storage and, of course, wood floors. “It all has to be comfortable,” he said.
He knows kitchens are where everyone hangs out. “A kitchen is only 5 or 10 percent of the space in a house. But in the end, it’s close to 50 percent of the home’s enjoyment,” Andrés said.
Will his come with a designer label stuck on somewhere? He said: “No. We have enough brands in our lives.”