A Kitchen to Live In
A true "family room" emerges from a practical budget and a taste for simplicity.
A first home, to many, is nothing more than a way station. A test print. A toe-dip into the ocean of investing. To architect Sophie Piesse, however, her first home is nearly perfect. And her kitchen, a thoughtfully designed “family room,” is the heart of the home they built on a tight lot and an even tighter budget.
It is a purposeful place that meets every requirement she has ever had for a kitchen: It’s practical and pleasing but not showy. Open, contemporary, environmentally friendly. And just large enough for cooking, eating, and entertaining.
Walk through the full-light front door and you’re in the hub of the passive-solar house Sophie shares with her husband, Robert Joyner, and their 2-year-old son, Marcus. At 260 square feet, the kitchen/dining area feels more spacious than it is. Two banks of wide, south-facing windows along the front wall offer views of the street and a small park.
“We live here because we like the neighborhood,” says Sophie. “And we live here,” she adds, with a nod toward the kitchen, “because we love this space.”
Function first…style a close second
Because Sophie and Rob both like to cook, the working side of the kitchen had to be highly functional. “We thought about what we like to cook and why we like to prepare it,” she says. “We thought about the best place to store things and how to cook and still talk with other people in the room.”
Countertops form a wide “L” on two walls, and an island with a pair of stools sits opposite, creating a small work triangle that is roomy enough for two cooks.
The island is topped with standard 1-inch butcher block with a simple lemon-oil finish. Towel bars from Häfele were mounted underneath. Plumbing lines installed under the island allow for a prep sink, should they decide to add one in the future.
The room has a subtle Scandinavian feel but with more warmth. Natural materials, hints of color, contemporary lines, and a mix of textures combine to create a space that invites a visit, a conversation, a cup of tea.
The stainless-topped dining table is surrounded by simple straight-back beech chairs. “I love to mix materials. I like stainless with mostly blond woods, but you don’t want too many different textures,” Sophie says.
The brick-red concrete floor, with radiant heat, gives the room an earthy quality, but this kitchen gets its professional look from stainless-steel appliances, Calphalon cookware hanging from a pot rack over the island, stainless-steel-glazed tiles behind the stove, and streamlined beech cabinets.
For more photos and details on this kitchen remodel, click the View PDF button below.