All Images: Katie Newburn
The lifestyle gurus at Goop collaborated with MARCH, a purveyor of all things culinary, to develop an inviting tile backslash for their studio test kitchen. Wanting to avoid the sterile look that test kitchens can have, Sam Hamilton, Founder of MARCH, aimed for homey and personal. They went for a classic 4x8 size in a custom color to compliment the other finishes of the space. Continue on to learn more about this project and to see more of the kitchen!
First, a bit about MARCH founder and designer of the Goop test kitchen, Sam Hamilton:
My style can best be described as...Uniquely individual with a focus on structured shapes and artisan materials. I have been influenced from my years at Ralph Lauren to appreciate heritage in both fashion and interiors; looking for pieces that show the timeless beauty in everyday objects.
My design philosophy is...Collect what is lasting—that you will not tire of and don’t feel limited to one particular style. Mixing of styles and periods is what makes a space come to life.
I got my start in...I would say my love of beautiful design has always been a part of me—starting with fashion. I studied art history in college while working in retail in Manhattan. Shortly after graduating, I started working for Ralph Lauren in New York. RL was an amazing company to work for because if you were interested in expanding your palate, you weren’t pigeon holed to any one department. I was able to work in fashion design and PR for children, women’s, men’s and home over 12 years there—somewhat of an old school style apprenticeship.
I find inspiration in...Any number of things. Beautiful imagery of homes, art, nature, music, poetry, travel. I have a frightening load of tear sheets from the past many years.
I can’t live without...Well really, my family and my animals. However, i think my next favorite “thing” is this chair I bought in Paris that sits in our entry way. It makes a little sad to single out just one thing though as i am truly attached to so many beautiful things. At my store, there are two things, a sculpture stand that is caked with old clay and a metal tree.
I love tile because...It instantly says something about a space—clean, utilitarian, textured, layered, hand attended to…
Can you tell me a bit about MARCH?
I opened MARCH in 2003 in partnership with my great friend (and interior designer) Mark Cunningham. MARCH is actually a play on the combination of both our names, my given name is Margaret, his needless to say Mark, my last name Hamilton and his Cunningham. When we first opened the product we were featuring was primarily for the “elegant” part of ones home. Antique and contemporary pieces from Europe and the states. Upholstered furniture, accessories, art from Belgium, France, Italy, UK, etc. Our audience at the time was primarily interior designers although we were sold to a retail audience as well. In 2011, I decided to shift the focus (but not the design sensibility) to the kitchen centric concept store. My old manager had a good way of putting it, we had been upstairs and now we are downstairs. Our client base has expanded to a much broader retail audience and has still carried over our interior design base.
This is MARCH:
One of the major shifts in the look of the MARCH space was painting the floors, walls and fixtures white and installing tile nearly floor to ceiling along the longest wall. The tile, and the white AGA cooker sitting in front of it gives the interior the feeling of a storied kitchen from an old great house, to a working chef’s kitchen, to a loft space where all activities in life take place in one room. I collaborated with the amazing furniture designer, Matt Bear of Union Studio to create a suite of kitchen worktables that anchor the kitchen concept.
How were you approached by Goop to design their test kitchen?
I was introduced to Gwyneth Paltrow early last year when the designer, Steven Volpe, brought her into MARCH. Steven was commissioned by GP/goop to design the goopMRKT pop up shop here in San Francisco. The kitchen is an important element to Gwyneth and by extension goop and Steven thought that my sensibility would work well with the kitchen they were aiming to install at the pop up. GP whole heartedly agreed and so I was commissioned to install the MARCH kitchen at the GoopMRKT. Central to the MARCH kitchen is the MARCH Worktable by Union Studio. GP/goop were so pleased with the pop up kitchen that they asked me and by extension, Matt Bear of Union Studio to work on the test kitchen for their new HQ in Santa Monica.
Another look at MARCH and one of their worktables, that is featured in the GOOP test kitchen:
Can you tell me about the space? Is there a story behind the project that you'd like to share?
I have to say, the barn spaces that Goop is leasing in Santa Monica are so inspiring. The walls are raw cement brick which has both a functional, utilitarian quality but are also warm in color and texture. The color of the brick inspired the custom color of the Fireclay tiles that anchor the back wall of the test kitchen.
What type of look or aesthetic were you going for?
The aesthetic I was striving to achieve was a kitchen that felt in sync with the rest of the open space but at the same time stands on its own. I also wanted the kitchen to feel somewhat homey—often times test kitchens have a sterile, unused feeling to them. The Goop website has a sensibility of a friend introducing you to something—it’s personal, I wanted the kitchen to feel that way too.
How did you come up with your color scheme/design?
As mentioned earlier, the color scheme was inspired by the brick color. Pink is something that appears regularly in GP’s books and in Goop product and I felt like the warm grey was a great ground for pastel colors. The design was to a great degree dictated by the shape of the space itself. Matt and I knew we wanted the MARCH Worktable to be the anchor and then the specificity of the appliance needs also played into the design. Matt designed the shelving units for the space that hang off of the tiled wall—these shelves will soon be available as part of the kitchen furniture collection from the line designed by Union Studio.
Here's a closer look at the shelves:
Why did you choose this color and size?
The choice of color has been covered. The size was actually dictated by the sense of urgency to have the custom tile create in time for install, Jamie (Fireclay Tile's Creative Director) happened to have stock on this size tile and it worked really well with our needs!
Below, you can really see the crackled texture of the tiles:
How did the installation go? Did you face any challenges?
As far as I know, the tile installation went seamlessly! Actually, all installation was without problem. I know that it was no small thing installing the cooktop in the MARCH Worktable but I think it went quite smoothly.
Lastly, which of our shapes/colors are you hoping to use in future projects?
As far as shapes of tiles, I generally gravitate toward rectangular. I couldn’t/wouldn’t limit myself as far as palette with Fireclay Tile. When I had the great honor of getting a tour of your factory, I was so inspired but so many of the various possibilities—really amazing. I do tend to go for a pretty trend resistant, lasting palette, grey, Navy, the perfect white, black, one other medium or indigo blue, as I think one doesn’t tire of these colors over time. However, I love some unusual pop of color in tile. The guest bath in my house in Marfa is cat’s eye green floor-to-ceiling tile and nothing makes me happier
Tile Shown: Navy Blue