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Published September 14th, 2011
4th Moraga Country Club Kitchen Tour
By Sophie Braccini
Richard and Nancy Buisson enjoy their striking kitchen, which they designed with both cooking and company in mind. Photo Doug Kohen

Why are kitchen tours so popular? Sue Olson, who created the Moraga Country Club Kitchen Tour four years ago, has a straightforward explanation: people are looking for good ideas. And Lamorinda's kitchen tours have value added -- they always benefit a worthy cause. This year, all proceeds from the Moraga Country Club Kitchen Tour will go to the Moraga Education Foundation.
This year's Tour will offer a mix of detached and attached homes in the Country Club, in both modern and traditional styles. Olson sought out kitchens that would inspire visitors; all were recently remodeled with the desire of creating brighter, more inviting spaces-kitchens that are, more than ever before, the center of the family and social life.
Every year, Olson knocks on the door of people she knows or has heard have done interesting things with their homes and tries to convince them to open their homes to the public. The four homes on the Tour this year have all been entirely remodeled.
"One of the families had lived in the Country Club before. They wanted to come back and have a home with a view," says Olson, "and what they did with it is incredible." The floor plan of their house was completely redesigned, opening up a view of the entire valley. Additional creative elements make it a home like no other.
The home of Nancy and Richard Buisson has also undergone a complete remodel. "If the previous owner returned, she would not recognize the place," says Buisson. Walls have been removed and floor-to-ceiling windows open onto the golf course with a view of a little lake. The floor is dark and so are the built-in kitchen cabinets, but the place breathes with light.
The Buissons, who love to cook, have chosen the optimal appliances and tools. The marble counter tops contrast nicely with the dark cabinets. Although the kitchen is of relative modest dimensions it is very functional and includes two islands - one in the center, and another L-shaped with a little sink to chill wine and drinks.
The Buissons conceived the plans themselves, keeping in mind a couple of scenarios -
Two cooks prepping a gourmet dinner together or a large group of friends moving and interacting in the open space. "Being your own general contractor is not that hard, if you know what you want," says Buisson.
Kitchen tourists will be given information and reference material about the homes. Architects, contractors or homeowners will be on site to respond to questions, and appetizers and wine will be served in the kitchens.
The MCC Kitchen Tour is on Wednesday, September 28th, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 each, and are on sale at Across the Way in the Moraga Center, at the Country Club, or online. All proceeds will go to the Moraga Education Foundation. For more information go to the web site www.mcchometour.com.

A stunning tiled floor and beautiful cabinetry are set against a magnificent view, and can be found in another kitchen you will visit on the Tour. Photos provided

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