Chefs’ Specialties

At any given time, have you had in your breadbox more than three plastic bread sacks containing nothing but heels? Has the box of raisins in your pantry quietly turned to stone? Do you secretly throw away returnable bottles because you can never remember to take them back to the store? If the answer to all of the above is “yes,” you’re probably not ready for the latest in kitchen planning as shown in the four kitchens we photographed. You can pass over the pictures while we tell everyone who is interested about the newest trends in kitchen design. Call it cook liberation or whatever you like, gone are the days when anyone wants to stir the caldron alone. The new concept in kitchen design is to have an area where the whole family can gather together. Even a small kitchen can accommodate a serving bar or a small table. And a kitchen can reflect one’s personality and interests as fully as any other room.



When builder Ernest Kennedy and his wife Blanch built their new home in University Park, they wanted a spacious feeling. After a number of years of working, Blanch was ready to spend some time baking at home, but she didn’t want to be isolated in the kitchen by herself. It was her idea to include a living and playing area as a part of the entire kitchen design. So the traditional “breakfast room” area has become a living area where children can do their homework, read or just visit with Blanch as she prepares meals. Ernest, too, can relax on the comfortable couch at the end of the room and share in a time of family recreation. The alternating use of green, coral, yellow and white makes the room bloom brightly. The white simulated brick floor creates the feeling of a patio. Attractive blinds admit light in the daytime andcan be adjusted for privacy at night. Blanch has used deep drawers for storing her pots and pans. Instead of leaning and bending to find the right utensil, one simply pulls out the drawer. An ordinary plastic dish drainer serves to keep pot lids filed for easy access. Blanch has assembled all of her baking needs in one area to make that activity hassle-free. All ingredients from spices to sugar are in one drawer, and her mixer is located on a foldaway stand so that it can be used and returned to its place easily. A walk-in pantry provides ample space for storage of canned goods. It all adds up to a pleasant kitchen where people will want to be.

June Josey wanted to create “a European kitchen that you never see in Europe.” She had in mind a kitchen that could never be messy because it was always cluttered anyway. So, working with Larry Lighthill, they made a room that is a veritable wealth of detail, filled with delightful surprises, dried herbs, fresh plants, bread bookends, antiques and even plumes.

The cabinets have been painted to look like wood and have been covered with polyurethane to provide an easily cleaned surface. Since the house is 25 years old, this was a much easier solution than stripping off accumulated layers of paint.

Although it is a small room, every inch has been utilized to give the European aura. The walls have been painted an earthtone, close to terra cotta, in order to best show off June’s collection of antique copper, which includes both family heirlooms and other pieces she has collected. The iron horse’s head was used outside a shop to advertise the fact that horse meat was sold within.

One wall is covered by the handsome antique baker’s rack, an unusual one because it combines iron, pewter, and brass. The wall behind the rack is covered with a sheered fabric which hides a table that disappears into the wall.

Although people often sit on the counters while June cooks on her commercial gas stove, they also sit at the antique table, on chairs with needlepoint and petitpoint cushions that June’s mother executed herself. The light fixture is an 18th century French one with modern Lalique shades.

It is obviously a room to relax in and one which accommodates any new whimsey.

Audrey Zisk was a full-time homemaker until she started manufacturing a line of casual linens three years ago. The same sense of organization that has made her a successful business woman is obvious in her kitchen. She and her husband, Sanford, completely gutted and rebuilt their kitchen five and a half years ago. Her aim was to have a country atmosphere which complemented the forest-like setting outside the kitchen window. A brick wall, real wood-beamed ceiling, wall paper on the ceiling, and natural wood floors all add up to the rustic look. Audrey has been very pleased with the wooden floors and has had no trouble with water spots or unusual wear. The only area which has needed refinishing is the floor directly in front of the sink. 6Besides the charglo-grill built into the brick wall, Audrey has two double ovens, a microwave oven, an eight burner cook top, and a warming drawer. She is obviously a woman who is serious about cooking. It is not unusual for the Zisk9 to entertain 100 people, and they have all the spaces and equipment necessary to do so. Audrey rejected the idea of the typical copper vented hood. “I didn’t want to feel like I was in Kip’s,” she said. She also didn’t want to obscure the view of the lovely outdoor scene, so she settled for a small fan in the ceiling which has adequately handled the problem. The dark green cabinets not only minimize upkeep, but also are easy to touch up, should they get the usual scratches. She has only to rub in a little dark umber. Other interesting features include an instant hot water unit which she uses every day for instant coffee or jello or whatever, a beautiful marble slab for rolling out pastry, a cabinet with “grow lights” for raising her own herbs, and a scale which folds out from the wall for convenience. It’s a kitchen that seems to have everything.

Carolyn Marks planned her kitchen diligently. She had been saving and accumulating kitchen ideas for several years before she and her husband, Richard, built their new home in Highland Park. Richard is in the wholesale nursery business, and they were both interested in establishing a continuity between the indoors and outdoors. That interest made them use wood extensively in the kitchen – oak flooring on the walls and shake shingles which literally bring the roof into the kitchen.

If you were raised with the old saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place,” this is the kitchen for you. Carolyn has vertical slots for trays, a pacific cloth-lined cabinet for silver, drawers for placemats, hooks for baskets, closets for cans, and even built-in sections for the extra leaves of her dining room table.

Two features are particularly interesting in this kitchen. Mrs. Marks’ center island does not contain the usual stove top, but a stainless steel sink. She wanted to hang a chandelier in the middle of the room rather than a vented hood, so she put her sink and dishwasher in the island. The island also functions as a valuable storage unit. She keeps her butcher block countertop oiled with vegetable oil so that it is a ready surface for rolling out pastry.

The other unique solution to a young family’s needs is a storage area at counter level for often-used appliances such as the toaster. There are electrical plugs at the back of the area, so that Mrs. Marks can raise the wooden doors, and pull out the toaster which is always ready for use. When finished, the toaster slides back to its allotted place – no lifting or plugging, and no valuable counter space wasted.

Because she loves to entertain, Carolyn chose to have three ovens and two warming drawers, so there is never any lack of baking space. Two vents cover her stove top, one for the standard units and one for the gas-fired charcoal grill.

Pots and Pains: Some Hints for Remodeling Your Kitchen.



Shop owners say that lor years they have had difficulty keeping yellow and green kitchen items in stock. Lately, however, there has been a definite trend toward earth tones, blue, brown and terra cotta. Anything goes though. One of the most unusual kitchens I saw was done in a Portugese ceramic tile of pink tulips on a white background. Even the hood over the stove was covered in tile.

A designer who specializes in kitchen design recommends the heavy vinyl squares which can be laid in any pattern and are immune to just about anything but earthquakes. They are also very expensive, Sheet vinyls are good, but avoid those with a thick cushion effect because they will burn and also show dents Natural wood floors work well for some people, but the success probably depends on one’s family. Small children and large dogs are not compatible with wooden floors. Real brick and real tile floors can be noisy and dishes can break easily when dropped on them, but they are beautiful and contribute to a country ambience.

Good old plastic laminate is still the most widely used counter top, although there is a trend toward ceramic tiles – a plain color lor the surface area and perhaps a patterned tile for the backsplash. Instead of considering butcher blocks for all counterspace, a rather impractical idea, limit your wood block to a space used only for cutting or a center island where it can do double service as a serving area

A new Dupont product, called Corian, is an excellent product for the kitchen Stains and burns can be easily removed, and the surface is excellent for rolling out pastry. It is expensive and limited in color selection at this time, but it is a good choice for a small counter area.

If you are going to completely remodel your kitchen, you should plan to spend between $8,000 and $10,000. This would include new cabinets, counters, appliances, flooring, lighting, wallpaper, sinks, you name it. And don’t be surprised it the price tag escalates. It is not impossible to spend as much as $60,000

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