Cooking with Gas

This kitchen puts the pedal to the metal.

Lisa Marie Hart Interior Design, Real Estate


With her husband top of mind, Carmen Nokes designed a kitchen evoking that same heart-racing feeling of strolling into a car showroom, setting your eyes on a road-ready machine, sitting behind the wheel, and revving the engine. This kitchen is sleek, shiny, and sophisticated, with all the masculine edge of a modern sports car and the tools to make it purr.

Set on a hill with views of Bighorn Golf Club’s Mountains course stretching below, the recently completed home of Tom and Carmen Nokes is both personal and professional. Tom has a passion for cars and owns dealerships in the Bay Area, a theme Carmen wanted to punctuate throughout their home. She was the driving force behind the interior design, working closely with Easton Builders and architect Kristi Hanson to hone her skills and interest in design on a professional level.

“We love to entertain, and the adage that the kitchen is the heart of the home holds true for us,” she says. “The natural gravitation of our friends into our kitchen is a given. It lends itself naturally as a gathering spot, and nearly all of the rooms flow seamlessly into and out of it.”

The open kitchen, designed on an angle, offers a smoothtransition to surrounding areas by sticking to the same material and color palette. Delicately veined Moca Cream limestone tiles and slabs form a neutral backdrop on interior and exterior floors and walls. Honed and polished, they lend warmth and richness while letting Carmen’s creative elements shine.


Dual kitchen islands offer double countertop space for prepping and serving, plus extra room for storage and appliances underneath. One features prep sinks, the other, bar seating.

Glints of stainless steel throughout the home were pushed into high gear in the kitchen, where the smooth curve of a custom Abbaka vent hood was fashioned from one continuous sheet of metal. (There’s plenty of power under the hood, too.) A modern mosaic pattern races across the backsplash, alternating brushed and polished stainless steel. Thanks to abundant natural light, “the textured steel reflects light beautifully even when the lights are off,” Carmen says. Nearby, an oversize metal bowl filled with apples resembles the grill of a car.

On either side of the backsplash, polished stainless-steel hardware adds a gleam to sycamore-wood cabinetry with a piano finish. To
continue the contrast, Carmen placed angular chrome pendant lights above swivel bar chairs with arching backs. Like a luxury car’s driver’s seat, each is upholstered in black ostrich leather.

A pair of islands curve through the space, wrapped in polished white diamond quartzite, waterfall edged, and angled on one side. The islands sit between a breakfast nook and dining area. Adjacent glass doors slide back to disappear across the patio and pool.

As a sweet accessory to her sleek design, Carmen has amassed a 
collection of ceramic cookie jars in the shapes of classic American
automobiles, designed in the 1970s and ’80s by artist Glenn Appleman and now highly sought-after. A cherry-red convertible on a high shelf picks up the red in the knobs of the Wolf 48-inch sealed six-burner range with grill stovetop, all gassed up and ready to go.