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Essential Ingredients: A Smart Kitchen Renovation

Take a few cues from a family kitchen that sizzles with style, smart storage and lots of counter space.

By Elzy Kolb and Celia Shatzman

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Renovated kitchen
Wendell T. Webber
Wendell T. Webber
Wendell T. Webber
Wendell T. Webber
Wendell T. Webber
Wendell T. Webber
Wendell T. Webber
Wendell T. Webber
Wendell T. Webber
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The Family: Jodi Katz and her husband Gordon Platt and their children, Sam, 12; Nathan, 10; and Owen, 7, of Chappaqua, New York

The Challenge: Create a functional, bright kitchen that works for casual family meals as well as holiday entertaining.

The Designer: Annmarie McCarthy, AIA, of Fivecat Studio, Pleasantville, New York

The Strategy: Jodi's goal was to stay true to the style of her 1845 farmhouse with its low ceilings and rooms of modest proportions. "The old kitchen was inefficient, dark and outdated," says Jodi. "I wanted to keep the charm, the intimacy, but bring in modern touches."

The Solution: The couple decided against radically altering the original layout, opting for a separate dining nook. With the designer, they made the most of the available space by maximizing storage capacity and building a super-sized cook-friendly island where the kids can eat and do homework. "It's become the center of our family life," says Jodi. Clean-lined Shaker-style custom cabinetry by Grabill Cabinets, of Grabill, Indiana, blends seamlessly with the traditional house.

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Fired Up

Instead of a range, Jodi wanted the convenience of a cooktop with wall ovens at eye level to minimize bending. The six cast-iron high-output burners on this rangetop (Viking Pro) handle everyday cooking as well as entertaining.

With a pot filler faucet at the stove there's no need to haul heavy pasta pots from the sink. Above, a powerful ventilation hood in matching finish acts as a sculptural complement.

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Getting Warmer

When she entertains Jodi serves buffet style, often cooking multiple dishes at once. To fit the bill she chose large-capacity double ovens with a convection feature that bake and roast in less time.

A drawer below with full extension glide puts roasting pans within easy reach.

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Go with the Flow

In keeping with her desire to bring in modern elements, Jodi chose a sleek stainless steel bowl over a farmhouse sink. A second prep sink, located on the island, gives extra cooking and cleanup flexibility.

Sponges and scrubbers are stashed out of sight in the handy tilt-out storage compartment.

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Okay Corral

Deep drawers are stocked with the boys' snacks. In lieu of built-in dividers, Jodi decided on baskets that can be easily removed for cleaning. "Drawer dividers are crumb catchers," says McCarthy. "This system is much neater."

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Tall Order

The kitchen boasts plenty of specialty storage spots like this vertical sliver cupboard that stores trays, cutting boards and cookie sheets upright and out of view.

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Stowaways

Across from the island a cabinet with pull-outs keeps bulky go-to items like the food processor and mixer off countertops yet within grabbing distance. Cookbooks fit neatly on a stationary top shelf.

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Cabinet Members

In addition to multiple cupboards of different sizes for pots, pans and other cooking necessities, the island features an under-the-counter microwave oven at a convenient height for the kids.

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Desk Set

The small built-in office area carved out of one side of the kitchen gives Jodi a place to catch up on paperwork while she keeps an eye on the boys. "Jodi wanted her office to be at the hub of family activity," says McCarthy.

White marble countertops lend an elegant touch throughout. Glazed subway tiles look subtly sophisticated on walls and are also a snap to wipe clean. Jodi decided on the brushed nickel hardware—a mix of spare and classic knobs, latches and pulls—first to set the tone for the project, she says.

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Hot Stuff

Looking to update your kitchen too? Check out the latest products, coolest trends and state-of-the-art technologies.

Dual icemakers—in freezer and door—mean never running out of cubes. A "CoolZone" drawer holds big platters. Special shelves keep spills contained for easy cleanups.

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Seven temperature sensors and multi-air-flow technology mean groceries stay fresh longer. The 3-tier freezer section organizes it all—no more digging out entombed ice cream.

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Finally, an apron-front design that's both handsome and a cinch to install. Made of enameled cast iron, this eco-friendly model is composed of at least 80% recycled materials and won't crack or chip.

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Cook dinner fast with burners that boil water at warp speed yet can simmer a marinara sauce forever without scorching.

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When your hands are sticky with pie dough, just a quick tap from anywhere—wrist, elbow—on the spout or handle will start and stop water flow thanks to sensitive Touch2O Technology.

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A high arc pulldown with bells and whistles—multifunction wand switches water flow patterns with the touch of a button. Hose has widest range of motion of any on the market.

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This convection oven can be split into two separate chambers to bake cupcakes and roast a turkey at the same time without mingling odors.

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This pro has brains and beauty—high-output gas burners, electronic control board for foolproof cooking plus more than 20 fashionable finishes. 30 inches wide.

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No more burning the snickerdoodles, with reliable, even convection heating. Pre-set controls turn heat off at the right time.

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This duo features special temperature control sensors for perfectly consistent results—always.

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Big enough to hold all the plates and platters from a family meal, this compact 36-inch drawer model with customized racking system uses less than 2 gallons of water and fits into the smallest space.

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Even that baked-on lasagna sauce is no match for this machine's technology—36 powerful spray jets scour problem pots clean.

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This model saves on energy costs with the half-load option, and it's so quiet that a small red "InfoLight" beams onto the floor to let you know it's running.

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Go easy on your wallet and get countertops that mimic all the subtle surface features of natural stone. This easy-to-maintain high-tech laminate comes in a range of colors and designs like marble, granite or petrified wood.

Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.

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