This kitchen was made to order for a homeowner who wanted fun and functional
When it was time for a new kitchen in this 1990s home on the shores of lovely Lake Maria in Monticello, the empty-nester homeowners had quite a wish list. At least the husband did—he’s a serious hobby chef. Cooking is his passion and his way of unwinding after a long day as a business executive. Also a frequent host of large gatherings, he wanted a working kitchen that would be highly interactive.
“He wants to entertain while he’s standing at the cooktop,” says Lisa Peck, principal of LiLu Interiors in Minneapolis, who began working with the homeowners early in the project. “At our first meeting, he spent the whole time cooking and throwing things on my plate. It’s very fun watching him.”
Once architect Pat O’Keefe of O’Keefe Design Associates in Prior Lake, completed the preliminary plan for the kitchen, the interior design got underway, even as Double T Construction of Prior Lake began demolition. Builder Tommy Thompson bumped out the footprint to create a 736-square-foot space for the kitchen and dining area on the main-level, and a 1,000-bottle wine cellar and tasting area on the lower level. Peck and Emily Anderson, also an interior designer at LiLu, worked with the homeowner to fine tune his needs and wants, designing custom storage for his many cooking gadgets and ensuring that every detail was configured so he could perform, entertain, and cook the way he wanted to. “It was a lot of fun to collaborate with someone who knows exactly what he wants and really uses his kitchen,” says Peck.
❶ Hot Stuff
This kitchen is just what the entertaining chef ordered for preparing a grand feast for a party of 100—or a quick snack for his grandchildren. The cooktop includes four burners and a griddle, as well as a separate two-burner induction cooktop for speedy prep.
❷ Custom Fit
The homeowner knew how this kitchen needed to work for him, says Peck. The overhead hood and storage was all his idea. “He wanted be able to grab pans from above, decant wine on the counter, and easily reach wine glasses—all while facing his guests and talking with them,” she says.
❸ Island Options
The eye-catching centerpiece of this space is the 18-foot-long island. The S-shaped bar, 5 feet at its widest and 2.5 feet at its narrowest, seats nine. The granite countertop, in shades of cool blue-greens and warm browns, captures the look of lake country from 10,000 feet. The organic hues are magnified by the paint on the island’s base and the walnut of the brackets, chairs, and perimeter cabinetry. The island’s grand good looks conceal its appliances: In addition to the cooktops, it holds a warming drawer, two refrigerator drawers, prep sink, and potfiller.
❹ Whole Hog
If the homeowners decide to throw a luau, the entertaining chef can handle the pork with ease. This commercial grill, so large it required its own fire-compression system, accommodates a whole pig.
Chris Lee is editor of Midwest Home.
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