Kitchens.com is a great resource for kitchen design and renovation information. The site's full of practical advice and great ideas. It's also run by some of my favorite people on the editorial side of the kitchen and bath industry.
Back in March, Kitchen.com's editor, Kim Sweet, asked me to participate in an editorial project they were working on. I was honored and said yes before I knew what exactly I was getting into.
The plan was to find well-known kitchens designers (who? me?) and pair us with an influential person outside of the industry. Based on a phone interview, we'd then design a fantasy kitchen for our iconic partners. The plans would never be build so we weren't constrained by such mundane things as budgets or production schedules.
I was paired with chef Ann Cooper. Ann's known as the Renegade Lunch lady and has made it her life's work to improve the quality and healthfulness of kids' school lunches.
Ann lives in the Rocky Mountains, entertains a lot and as a chef, is used to being around commercial equipment. She wanted something transitional, a room where she could cook and entertain at the same time and like everybody, she wanted a lot of room. There needed to be a fully functioning outdoor kitchen as well and it needed a charcoal grill and a wood-burning pizza oven.
I drew a plan in SketchUp and Kitchen.com's incredible renderer Kevin took my basic drawings and made absolute magic out of them.
The house was to be in the mountains and I wanted to honor the location and have the final room be rustic but not primitive. I used an inset, flat-panel cabinet in an off-white painted finish. The counters around the sink and part of the island's wall are in Carrera marble and the rest are in stainless steel. The island that I morphed into a table is an homage to the great Johnny Grey. He built an arced piece of marble into a kitchen and it's haunted me for the last ten years. I hope my version of it did some justice to the original.
The other designers who worked on this project were Cheryl Kees-Clendenon, Kelly Morrisseau and Ann Porter.
I know and admire all three of these women and it's a privilege to be included in any group that involves them. Now that it's finished and now that I see whose designs are part of this project as well, I'm struck by the same question. Why did you pick me? Those three are accomplished, award-winning designers and I'm some schmoe with a big mouth. Whatever the reason, this has been a real thrill so thanks go to Kim, mark and Kevin at Kitchens.com and of course to Ann Cooper for being such a good sport.
You an see the rest of this article and see Cheryl, Kelly and Ann's designs on Kitchen.com's Iconic Inspirations.