Michele Grace Hottel, Architect

The Mount Helix Project

Play Video

Have You Ever Met a Woman Architect Before? We’re lucky to know Michele Grace Hottel, owner of her namesake architecture and design firm and host of the “I’ve Never Met a Woman Architect Before” podcast. Michele has been a PIRCH client for several years, and we’re excited to showcase one of her recently completed projects in the San Diego area.

Michele started her practice about 30 years ago, and typically works on custom residential remodels and additions, as well as new build homes. “I’m inspired by so many things as an architect,” says Michele. “I look at the site, the climate, and the context of the project. Also, working with the client and trying to involve their personalities, really making the project unique and their own.”

Michele enjoys visiting PIRCH showrooms to window shop and to see all the new products and appliances on display. “I was fortunate to bring the Hensley’s into PIRCH, and they chose a lot of wonderful plumbing fixtures, fittings, and appliances, which really made their project wonderful,” explains Michele.

“I think it’s great to be able to take my clients into PIRCH and have them look at the different faucets,” says Michele. “I love how the water actually works in the faucets and you can see the products installed in a kitchen, so it gives the client a better idea of what things are going to look like!”

The project on Mount Helix, owned by Tom and Barbara Hensley was an existing, multi-level, mid-century modern home. Tom and Barbara wanted to remodel several rooms in the home, including the kitchen and the primary bathrooms. They also wanted to add a pool house with an outdoor kitchen. “The homeowners have been in this house for a while, and they like to enjoy the holidays here with their adult children,” explains Michele. “They had a clear idea of what they wanted.”

“I think my favorite design element in the home is the kitchen,” says Michele. “It really came together with the blue cabinetry, the lighter grey cabinetry on top, the marble, and the stainless-steel appliances.” The Hensley’s went with a full-suite of Sub-Zero, Wolf & Cove appliances for the indoor kitchen as well as the outdoor kitchen. Family-owned and family-run for over three generations, the Sub-Zero, WolfCove brand is well-known for their state-of-the-art refrigeration and cooking appliances.

The Hensleys had a Sub-Zero refrigerator in their previous kitchen. When they came to PIRCH to look at appliances, they knew they wanted to select an updated Sub-Zero model for the unparalleled performance and classic design. They even added a Sub-Zero undercounter wine fridge.

“I tend to recommend Sub-Zero, WolfCove just because they’re the American classic standard for appliances,” says Michele. “They’re stainless steel, they’re durable, they’re beautiful, and I think for custom home design, they’re just classic.”

Michele and the homeowners decided to go with a beautiful California Faucets Davoli pull-down faucet for the new kitchen. The Davoli series’ fully coordinated design ensemble fuses traditional Italian design with a modern American twist. “I’ve been using California Faucets for years,” says Michele. “It’s a good brand, and with the steampunk look that they wanted, we really found it in that line.”

The new kitchen also has a new Franke Home Solutions Farm House, apron front sink, which Barbara really wanted. The addition of the Farm House collection complements the classic, yet modern design of this kitchen.

The Hensley’s had a clear idea of what they wanted when it came to bathroom design. The ‘his and hers’ bathrooms have a modern-industrial feel with black and white marble tile, and Steampunk fixtures from California Faucets. Inspired by steam gauges from the Industrial Revolution, but infused with modern technology of ceramic disc cartridges and thermostatic valves, the Steampunk bathroom series from California Faucets is a fusion of past and present.

The bathrooms also have technologically innovative, yet visually minimal Duravit SensoWash® toilets. Duravit is one of the most respected porcelain bathroom fittings manufacturers in the world. They are a design leader, producing beautiful and unique items for the bathroom in partnership with renowned designers including  Phillipe Starck, Frank Huster,  Christian Werner, and Matteo Thun. “I’ve always liked Duravit as a product,” says Michele. “I went to school in Denmark, so I have a real affinity for European style and plumbing fixtures.”

The Hensley’s love to entertain and host their family outdoors in their sunny Southern California home, so part of this project included a complete build-out of a new pool house with a fully decked-out outdoor kitchen. They went with a 36” Wolf gas grill for the outdoor kitchen to match what they chose for the indoor kitchen. They also chose a Sub-Zero refrigerator and ice maker, as well as an outdoor sink from Lynx.

After seeing Urban Bonfire cabinetry in outdoor kitchen displays at PIRCH in San Diego, the Hensleys decided to incorporate Urban Bonfire cabinetry in their design. Using marine-grade, powder-coated aluminum, Urban Bonfire cabinetry is created to fit seamlessly with a wide range of PIRCH grills and outdoor appliances, bringing new life and energy into outdoor cooking spaces. “Because of the location of the pool house and the exposure to the elements, we knew we needed a durable option for cabinetry, and that’s metal,” explains Michele. “We used Anthracite as the color, and I think it looks really great.”

At PIRCH, we love to help homeowners and trade clients bring their projects to life. Our knowledgeable Sales Consultants have such deep insight into the brands and products available. Their mission is to help guide our clients through the product selection process and provide input in ways that are helpful and supportive. 

“I really enjoyed working with PIRCH on this project,” says Michele. “It was great to have Sandra Papendorf lead the way. It was great to have someone coordinate the appliances and provide the specs.”

Sandra was able to field questions from the contractor and provide any information needed to help facilitate the success of the project. “If the contractor had any questions about installation, we could call Sandra and ask her,” explains Michele. “She was great when we first met her, and then she stayed with us throughout the whole installation.”

“Working with PIRCH really helped because it was nice to have somebody there like Sandra to help us through the process, be there to specify the products, make sure that things were ordered in the right style, in the right product number. There were a lot of moving pieces and Sandra really helped us through all of those,” Michele continues.

“I’m really happy with how the project turned out,” says Michele. “I attribute so much of that to the clients. They have great design style, and their personalities really shine in this house now.”

To learn more about architect Michele Grace Hottel, follow her on Instagram, and Facebook, and listen to her podcast on all streaming platforms.

See More:

More Projects, Videos and Articles