Light, space, and storage—lots and lots of storage—are the hallmarks of this Denver family's kitchen.
April 04, 2013
1 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
After two years of searching for a dream house, artist Meg Miller and her husband, David, purchased, then scrapped a "mint green 1950s box" in Denver's tony Hilltop neighborhood and rebuilt from there. "I wanted my home to be a work of art," says Meg. "In our old house people basically spent 98% of their time in 400 square feet, which was the kitchen/family room area. I wanted the kitchen to be the heart of this home."
As a result, the Millers' 2,200-square-foot first floor has almost no interior walls and only one traditional door, to the powder room. The feeling when you enter the house is that of tremendous light, space, and color, thanks to an eclectic collection of furniture, repainted antiques, and art.
And the kitchen is the anchor for all of it. More than anything, Meg wanted an open space where everyone could do separate things and still be together. She may be the first to laugh at her Colorado need for feng shui flow, but there's no question about her success in achieving it.
2 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
The Ultimate Luxury
Meg's love of entertaining necessitated two Dacor ovens—a dream for many home cooks. What could be better than the traditional stacked arrangement? A side-by-side version—no bending or reaching required, an important consideration for Meg, who is 5'1".
3 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
The exposed dumbwaiter pulley fits beautifully with the kitchen's industrial feel and frees the Millers of schlepping heavy grocery bags up the stairs from their basement-level garage. The door of the dumbwaiter is covered in magnetic paint so it can be used as a bulletin board.
4 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
Everything is visible at a glance in drawers.
5 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
Meg had dog dishes made to match the concrete of the island: "I wanted everything in the kitchen to be beautiful and have a purpose. If it doesn't, it doesn't belong. I didn't want an ugly dog dish sitting right next to that beautiful island."
6 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
Design Within Reach
Meg's beloved KWC industrial sprayer allows her to fill pots, fishbowls, and flowerpots next to the sink. The deep, oversized Blanco single-tub Silgranit sink is easy to clean, easy on dropped dishes, and resistant to nicks.
7 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
Everything in Its Place
The Millers don't have a pantry, so a wall of drawers and cabinets with pull-out shelves along the back wall of the kitchen does most of their storage duty. Meg also used the drawers to avoid visual clutter on the countertops: She had outlets mounted within the cabinetry so oft-used appliances don't have to be lifted out onto the counter for use. When espresso is brewed or bread toasted, the drawers roll back in, and cabinet doors shut.
8 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
An under-island beverage fridge faces the family room, so grabbing a soda or a beer need not involve a walk through the kitchen to the main fridge. The living room's television is easy to see from the island so that the cook and anyone hanging around the kitchen can still enjoy what's on the tube.
9 of 9Photo: Christopher Testani
What Makes This a Cook's Kitchen
Meg, who loves to entertain, will tell you straight up that everything starts and stops at the massive 10 × 7–foot island (shown on the previous page). Meg wanted the kitchen to be smack in the middle of the house, and the island is its heart. Congregation, connection, preparation, and celebration all happen around this polished, finely honed concrete work of a Denver craftsman. ("He had to create a special template because he had never done anything this large," says Meg.)
From her cook's perch at the stove, it's a step or a turn to the sink, dishwasher, and plates. All manner of stovetop necessities—pots, pans, utensils, spices—are in surrounding drawers. Inlaid iridescent glass tiles serve as inset trivets for anything hot. There are more cabinets underneath the front of the island for baskets and larger pieces that aren't in the regular dining rotation.
When there's a crowd, which is often, counter stools are moved to the living area, and the island serves as the perfect buffet area. Thanksgiving, birthdays, Super Bowl parties, the family's annual Bubble Bread Brunch—there's no meal that can't be accommodated by this massive counter space.