With a focus on food this month, what better time to give extra attention to the kitchen by visiting two families happy with their dream kitchens.
Photography by Janet Warlick
You can’t talk about food without talking about kitchens, the heart of any home.
Oscar and Doris Washington know about kitchens. Located in Chenal Valley, it is their sixth home. This kitchen made their dreams a reality.
“We’ve been in this home for eight years,” stated Oscar, vice president of customer service with Entergy Arkansas. “It has exceeded our expectations. We wanted a kitchen with lots open space, so when we’re cooking, there’s room for the kids or friends.”
The Washingtons play host to their friends as well as open their home for philanthropic events. At times, they’ve had as many as 100 people in the kitchen area. The couple says the double islands are perfect. They can be preparing meals on one side with the kids doing homework on the other.
To aid in their search for their ideal kitchen before building this home, they did their research. “We knew what we liked from previous kitchens as well as what we wanted in this one,” explained Doris, a director with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While on a trip to Las Vegas, they visited homes making notes of their likes. “Seeing homes already built made it easy to see sizes of cooking islands and any special details that we’d like to include.”
Details in this home include a water faucet on the range backsplash making it easy to fill large pasta pots. Moldings around cabinets surrounding the cooktop pull out to reveal shelf space.
A walk-in pantry behind a custom wrought iron door is filled with pull out shelves to hold grocery staples.
Knowing they will be hosting events regularly for family and friends, a bar was built just outside the kitchen. It serves as another gathering place and extends the space of the kitchen.
The Washingtons say they will build their last dream home once their 10- and 17-year-olds are have flown the nest.
Any changes for the empty nest home? “It will be a lot like this one, but with a bigger fridge, cooktop and pantry,” according to Oscar.
Sounds like entertaining will continue to be a top priority for the Washingtons’ future kitchen too.
Slocum and Allison Pickell have lived in their Heights cottage for more than 18 years. Slocum, an attorney with J. Slocum Pickell, Attorney at Law, and Allison, an associate broker with Coldwell Banker, RPM Group, are only the third owners of this home built in the 1930s. The previous owner lived there for more than 50 years.
Until this past year, the kitchen showcased the 1970s with avocado green and yellow colors. According to Allison, the stove was circa 1950, but not the cute vintage stoves you think about.
“Three years ago we had the hardwood floors in the house refinished,” explained Allison. The couple decided to put faux wood in the kitchen to match the remainder of the home.
Since, the floor was being redone, a friend recommended knocking out a wall that made a small eating area in the kitchen. That suggestion received a professional second. “It really wasn’t useful,” explained Gary Mertins of mertinsdykehome. “Removing it would make a huge difference to the kitchen.” That space now serves as a useful work area.
Allison worked with Mertins on other details to bring back the charm to the room. “It was genius of Gary to suggest bead board for the ceiling,” stated Allison. “It gives so much character to the room.” Mertins also recommended the beveled glass in the cabinet doors as well as selected hardware for the cabinets.
A planner by nature, Allison began purchasing items during the past three years such as the farmer’s sink and the leathered quartz tiles for the counter tops. “I slowly bought what I wanted and just stored items in the home. No loans, all cash on the barrel!”
She laughs when she thinks about having plywood countertops until the tile she wanted had all been purchased.
“It was important to me to maintain the ‘old Heights’ look and to stay within the style of the house with a contemporary look.” Mission accomplished.