Kitchen for a Chef Results in Award-Winning Design

Kitchen for a Chef Results in Award-Winning Design

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A kitchen with two islands sounds like a big kitchen. But when she examined what her client really needed, Janice Teague found that, functionally, even a big kitchen could seem small. Especially if you need room enough for more than a few people at a time, while accommodating a professional chef with adequate space to spread out and do all the things a good chef does best.

Figuring out how to make a big kitchen work better — for a chef wanting to use her kitchen for both cooking classes and corporate entertaining — is what won Janice two design awards. A designer with Drury Design in the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Janice won first place in the large kitchen category in the NKBA competition for greater Chicagoland. The same project was also named by Trends magazine as one of its Top 50 kitchens for 2013-2014, the second straight year a Drury project has been so honored.

Working with this chef on a kitchen redesign proved to be a study in detail, said Janice. “She was very specific on what she needed and we had to make some significant adjustments in wall structures, among other things, to provide what she was looking for.”

“However, she was very enjoyable to work with because, while there were a lot of requirements about what she had to have, she was also open to ideas and to blending her needs with different ways to do things.”

The purpose of the design included giving the chef room to operate and cooking students room to watch, along with room for guests to easily gather in the kitchen and easily flow into and out of the adjoining areas without cramping the cook’s space. Some of the significant changes included:

  • Eliminating one of the islands and creating sizeable cooking and baking areas on the periphery walls, including a 60-inch range and a lowered baking countertop in marble.
  • Working from the back end of the room to create a larger pantry with the existing pantry opening as well as an enclosed space for a refrigerator.
  • Redoing a wall that separated the kitchen from the living area having only one opening in the middle to a wall with two openings on either side of a new bar area where people can gather and flow more easily into the living area. The bar includes a sink, dishwasher, wine cooler, TV, and cabinetry for glassware.
  • Adding a small “breakfast bar” around the corner with a microwave, coffee maker, toaster and pull-out bread board. It’s right across the hallway from the door to the garage, so it provides great “grab-and-go” functionality without disturbing the main kitchen.

The cabinetry is from Grabill’s Benchmark line with an Olde Towne door style in maple and finished in Super White. Janice uses Grabill all the time, she said. “What we like most about them is their turnaround time. They have a very good product at a fair price. They have a great warranty.”

With the kind of detail involved in this kind of project, they are also “most helpful in double-checking everything to make sure everything fits the way I planned it. If they see any issues, if there are any questions, they don’t make assumptions. They call me and we work things out. They’re very flexible in how they work.”

This transitional style in its Super White finish from Grabill provides a lot of flexibility, explained Janice. “There’s a really pretty aqua color on the walls, but everything else is neutral, so the owner can put whatever accent color she wants with it and it will still work. So she can really change the look of the kitchen with just the paint color.”

In the end, every detail was nailed down to the chef’s delight, right down to the decorative overhead lights. “She’s gotten quite a few compliments on the renovation,” said Janice. As the awards confirm, this is clearly a kitchen that makes a statement!

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