Craveable Kitchens: SolMateo Kitchen Tour

Words by Andrea Gemmet

Photos by Dennis Mayer

Words by Andrea Gemmet

For anyone who’s ever wished to get a first-hand look at the latest trends in interior design, six extraordinary homes are open for inspection, thanks to SolMateo’s annual one-day Signature Kitchen Tour on May 3. Now in its 42nd year, this self-guided event running from 10AM to 4PM is a once-a-year opportunity to step inside meticulously remodeled properties in Burlingame, Hillsborough and San Mateo—and all for a good cause.

“We decided to hold the tour earlier than usual this year to help draw attention to the fact that May is Mental Health Month,” shares Nancy Minning, the chair of this year’s fundraising event. For almost 50 years, this volunteer group has used the Signature Kitchen Tour’s proceeds to support Peninsula mental health organizations. SolMateo is proud to be the largest private donor to both the Mental Health Association of San Mateo County and Star Vista Crisis Center, which runs a 24-hour hotline.

A full-color tour book is back by popular demand this year and included in the ticket price. Homes also will be open an hour longer, giving guests plenty of time to pore over the finer details in the lovely homes on display. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at Here’s a PUNCH preview of the inspiring design talents and homes included in this year’s event.

R Corner Manor

The enduring appeal of “R Corner Manor,” nestled in San Mateo Park, speaks of a timeless elegance. This 1913 Craftsman-style masterpiece by famed architect Julia Morgan blends history with modern amenities following its 2023 renovation. Step into the front courtyard, where a French limestone fountain is surrounded by herringbone brick pathways. Inside, original stained glass windows and gum wood details evoke a bygone era of craftsmanship. The renovated kitchen boasts marble countertops, Wolf appliances and a seamless indoor-outdoor connection. The breakfast room, adorned with vintage furnishings and cherished artwork, invites relaxed gatherings. The landscaped backyard oasis features a pool, fire pit and luxurious accessory dwelling unit.

All-Electric English Cottage

Nestled in San Mateo Park, this 1920s English cottage seamlessly melds historic charm with futuristic features for an inviting blend of warmth and technology. The robin’s egg blue door offers a modern twist, leading into an energy-efficient sanctuary. White oak floors lead to a sunlit kitchen and dining area, featuring electric appliances and a stunning quartz island. High-tech amenities include automated shades and energy-saving systems. In the backyard, solar water panels heat the tranquil swimming pool, and there’s a smart irrigation system for the landscaping. Eco-conscious features extend to the garage, which is outfitted with electric vehicle charging stations.

Architectural Appeal

Embarking on a voyage through time and design evolution, a 1920s English cottage in Burlingame Park creates a captivating blend of art and modern architecture. A towering glass front window reveals the Omer Arbel 14-piece chandelier, a masterpiece hanging in the two-story entrance. Inside, a mahogany pivot door leads to a sanctuary adorned with commissioned art pieces, like It Girl and Walk on Guy. Stroll through bookcase-lined hallways to find 17-foot-high ceilings with exposed beams, leading seamlessly into rooms filled with eclectic charm. The kitchen and dining areas give off a Mediterranean feel, enhanced by sleek design and Miele appliances. Nana doors open to an outdoor haven with a firepit and Evo grill, decorated with globe planters and modern Doric columns. Every detail in this remodel contributes to an immersive experience that builds a bridge between tradition and contemporary appeal.

Nantucket Colonial

This 1906 colonial-style home, nestled on a quiet street near Burlingame’s downtown, features classic Nantucket architecture, showcased by a cedar shake exterior and landscaped yard. Inside, heirloom pieces create a sense of elegance in the spacious living room, inspired by an impressionist piece titled Normandy 12. Original features like oak floors and flat board trim retain the home’s historic character. A formal dining room is the perfect setting for antique accents and eclectic lithographs, while vibrant wallpaper enlivens the powder room. The renovated kitchen’s eye-catching ochre and teal tones are anchored by a Jeriba blue quartzite countertop. Modern amenities include Sub-Zero appliances and a coffee station. Outside, an expansive backyard with a pool makes for a private retreat.

Spanish Retreat

Built in 1928, this Spanish-style retreat underwent two remodels in a decade to modernize its flow for a family of four while preserving its historical appeal. Completed in 2021, the latest remodel transformed the kitchen into a welcoming space for cooking and gathering. The dining room’s ambiance evokes Restoration Hardware aesthetics with a vaulted, beamed ceiling. The family room, adorned with artwork, offers plenty of natural light and views of the backyard. Cozy corners feature bespoke furniture and playful touches, reflecting the family’s personality. Custom cabinets and a boho-inspired kitchen island anchor the culinary space, which is outfitted with high-end appliances. Outside, a terracotta staircase leads to a spacious deck with a fire pit, a perfect place to relax and enjoy the landscaped backyard.

Hillsborough Haven

A transformational remodel turned this 1975 home into a chic and welcoming haven. Its exterior features a tall entry door with custom seeded glass, while warm alder wood trim and dark brown oak floors create a cozy atmosphere inside. The foyer is adorned with a circular tray ceiling and crystal chandelier. An exquisite powder room boasts a stylish floral wall covering. The tray ceiling in the living room creates a spacious feel, an ideal setting for a grand piano. The formal dining room features a vaulted ceiling and French doors opening onto the deck. The chef’s kitchen is equipped with top-notch appliances and a spacious island. The family room includes a fireplace and a wine cellar. Outside, the backyard offers an array of entertainment options, from an outdoor kitchen to a swimming pool and sports court in a picture-perfect setting.