Fit for a Chef
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“People always say that everyone wants to hang out in the kitchen, and I think that’s even more true when you’re in the home of someone who cooks for a living,” says chef Kevin Gillespie with a laugh.
In that case, it was only natural that when the restaurateur and his wife, Valerie, began the process of renovating their circa-1968 home, creating a highly functional yet entertaining-friendly kitchen was a top priority.
“Finding a way to get the maximum amount of people to be able to congregate around the kitchen without actually being in the kitchen was one of the biggest things that informed the design decisions,” says Kevin.
To that end, a floating island and an adjacent pass-through window offer guests stagelike access to the kitchen without impeding the chef’s ability to cook. To create a sense of openness, the Gillespies limited upper cabinetry, instead building out larger lower cabinets—painted a striking inky blue (Sherwin-Williams Anchors Aweigh)—to keep clutter at bay without interrupting the line of sight into the space. Their size was also intended to counterbalance the chef’s heavy-duty equipment, which includes a customizable five-foot sink by The Galley, windowed Sub-Zero fridge and Wolf range.
Also part of this strategy were the “virtually indestructible” Neolith countertops in Iron Grey, a shade meant to look like patinated iron, which add a masculinity that plays off the industrial appliances. Even the floating island’s surface, though it appears to be wood, is actually Neolith. Modeled after a Lebanese cedar tree, the design combines the durability of Neolith with the beauty and warmth of wood.
“There are a lot of rooms where you can choose fashion over function, and the kitchen is not one of them,” notes Kevin. “Everything I put in the kitchen is extremely purpose-filled. We didn’t want to load our house up with equipment that we’d never use.”
Even the adjoining sunroom was outfitted to accommodate guests and connect to the kitchen. A wet bar, inspired by the home’s original 1970s tiki bar, is conveniently located with easy access to the kitchen, serving as the perfect spot for guests to convene and enjoy a drink.
“We wanted visitors to know that we built this house for people to feel comfortable and hang out in,” Kevin says. “And what better way to do that than to have a drink, sit down, have a conversation and be connected visually with the food made in the kitchen.”
ARCHITECT Cooper Carry REFRIGERATOR Sub-Zero RANGE, HOOD & WALL OVEN Wolf DISHWASHER Asko Appliances COUNTERTOPS Neolith BAR HARDWARE & FAUCETS Hansgrohe SINK The Galley BARSTOOLS Room & Board