Home & Garden: Bistro Style


By 10 o’clock on a warm Sacramento morning, designer Lynette Kleinfall has everything in apple-pie order. The breakfast dishes are done, the marble counter wiped clean. The coffee is brewed, the table set for two, and a buttery crumb confection from Corti Brothers is on the cake stand in the pantry. Birdsong and the sounds of trickling water from an outdoor fountain drift through a pair of open French windows over the sink. And Kleinfall? She’s happy as a lark. Her remodeled kitchen is everything she ever hoped it would be. She’s been hoping for a while. “I’ve been here 30 years,” she says about the cozy East Sac cottage she shares with husband Joe Fornasero and daughter Holly Kleinfall. “Changing the wallpaper and the flooring were the only things I had done with the kitchen before. Everything else was a temporary fix . . . temporary meaning 20 years. . . . It took us a while to get here.” But get there she did.

The house: Cottage built in 1930

Designer: Lynette Kleinfall Interiors, East Sacramento. Kleinfall is known for her flair with antiques, color and texture, and for always keeping an eye on the budget.

This kitchen remodel: A complete redo using perfectly imperfect woods, vintage tile, ceramic, stone, lively and happy colors, woven linen and printed cotton. Nothing fussy. 

Design philosophy: See something you love? Buy it. “I’ve had that wallpaper for seven years,” Kleinfall says. “They had it in the Pierre Deux Carmel store, and I had always loved it. I bought it thinking I’ll eventually use it. I have all kinds of things that I’ll use someday . . . that’s my business.”

General contractor: Ryan Hart, Hart Homes Construction, Grass Valley

Doris Day and the sunflower-yellow Lacanche: “I saw this stove in Carmel at an open house Ryan Melcher was having.” (Melcher, whose company specializes in luxury real estate, is Doris Day’s grandson.) “I told my husband, Joe, ‘I do love this color.’ There’s a gas oven on one side and an electric oven on the other. I use the electric for reheating and the gas for roasts and things. My old Wedgwood was the exact same height, width and size, so that was a done deal.” 

That floor: Reclaimed oak and vintage French terra-cotta pavers. “I asked my contractor, Ryan (Hart), if he could set the tiles. He said, ‘Oh, yeah, no problem.’ Look at the cuts he did in the wood. It took him three weeks to put the floor down, but it’s perfect.” 

Where’s the microwave? Nowhere. Kleinfall’s kitchen has no dishwasher, garbage disposal or microwave. “The way I cook and use this kitchen, I don’t need any of that.” 

Cabinetry: “I worked with Ray Rodriguez (Simply Cabinet Solutions, Roseville) for the design and did a custom color for the stain.” 

Marble, oh yes: “I love it. It’s a pain because you have to be careful, but they’ve used it in Europe for centuries. I know it needs to be sealed every six months, but I just love the way it feels.”

Keeping those: The china hutches are original to the house. “People ask me: ‘Are you going to take those out?’ No! How could you even think about that?”