Design Firm Reaches for the Stars
When a Midwestern family design firm moved to Hollywood, it would’ve been easy to become star-struck; instead, the firm honed its luxury design skills, and 30 years later, business is booming with an average project cost of $175,000.
AUTHORS Ashley Lapin Olian
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA — For many designers, remodeling a celebrity’s kitchen would be the highlight of their career. For Steven Cooper, owner and principal designer at West Hollywood, CA-based Cooper Pacific Kitchens, designing a famous person’s kitchen is just another day at the office.
“There have been a lot of A-list Hollywood celebrities that we’ve worked with,” says Cooper, “as well as a lot of athletes and a few politicians along the way – certainly names that everyone out there would recognize. That’s kind of part and parcel with being located in Los Angeles.”
JOURNEY OUT WEST
While many people come to Hollywood to chase dreams of movie stardom, Steven Cooper’s father, Neil Cooper, came to California to realize his dreams of kitchen design. The Coopers were living in southern Minnesota, where Neil was a custom home builder. His favorite room in the house was always the kitchen, so he decided that Los Angeles was the place to start a business focusing on luxury high-end kitchen design. Neil, his wife Shirley, and their two sons packed up, went west in 1984, and established their business at the renowned Pacific Design Center in 1986.
The move was well worth it: Today, the cost of Cooper Pacific Kitchens’ average kitchen remodel is between $175,000 and $200,000.
“We operate in one of the best markets in the nation,” states Steven. “It’s a nice place for us to be in – Los Angeles. We have an abundance of amazing properties we’re able to work in.”
Since the beginning, Cooper Pacific Kitchens has been a family enterprise. Steven’s mother worked in various managerial positions at the business and was the “glue that held everything together.” His father was owner and principal designer until 18 months ago when he retired. Steven began working for his dad at the age of 15, doing accounting and eventually moving on to design.
The rest of the family also currently works at the firm. Steven’s wife, Giselle, is the showroom concierge and brand curator; Steven’s oldest daughter, Brittanie, manages installations and logistics, while his daughter Natalie assists Steven with client management and showroom resources.
“The current family structure that’s involved is a very important part of our DNA,” adds Steven.
Although Cooper Pacific Kitchens left full home building behind in Minnesota, the firm still has its contractor’s license and provides its own installation services.
“At the end of the day, a kitchen’s not a kitchen until it is professionally installed,” says Steven. “Otherwise, it’s a pile of cabinets in someone’s garage and you’re left to hope that someone else executes your vision properly. I don’t like leaving things to hope.”
STAND OUT PROJECT
A project that stands out for Steven is a large property he is currently working on in Las Vegas. It is a project that has expanded in size: The scope has moved from one end of the house to the other over a four-year period.
In addition to the 500-sq.-ft kitchen, Cooper Pacific is also doing a 900-sq.-ft. parlor bar and the 2,500-sq.-ft. master suite. The part of the project that is most memorable for Steven is a handmade millwork piece he is fashioning for the parlor bar.
“It’s a combination of a very modern flat-panel island with a hand-carved piece that grows from the end of it,” he describes. “It’s this dysmorphic island piece that goes from French provincial to sleek, modern Italian – all within the same piece.”
Many firms tout a design specialty. However, Cooper Pacific prides itself on the fact that it offers a wide range of design styles.
“I think where we make a departure from other firms is we are not locked into a particular design scheme or school,” expounds Steven. “Our breadth and width are such that we are doing European modern, American traditional, modern farmhouse, French Deco – you name it, we’re doing it. We’re able to reach into our wheelhouse of resources here and execute any of those visions.”
Another fact that sets Cooper Pacific apart is that about 75% of the firm’s clients tend to be other design professionals who come in looking for collaborative work.
“A designer can come into us and may have a traditional project now, maybe a transitional one in six months, maybe a modern one next year, or all at the same time. They know they can come to us as a resource for any particular style and have consistency in terms of execution,” concludes Steven.
At a Glance
Cooper Pacific Kitchens
Location: West Hollywood, CA
Principals: Steven Cooper, principal designer & owner
Areas Served: Global
Hours of Operation: Pacific Design Center Showroom is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
No. of Employees: 16
Major Product Lines Carried: Premier, Cottonwood, Neff, Artcraft, Wood-Mode, La Cornue, Sub-Zero, Wolf and Miele
Design Software: AutoCAD
Business Philosophy: “We are hardworking and family-oriented. Our team prides itself on being on the cutting edge of new products, technology and ideas related to the home. We always strive for the highest quality with regard to design and product options.”