Written by Nancy A. Ruhling
Styled by Gisela Rose
Photographed by Jim Yochum
When Kim Cardosi and Don Jasinski updated the kitchen of their century-old Craftsman foursquare in the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District of Oak Park, Illinois, they took great care to blend the old and new to create a space that was equally at home for eating and for entertaining.
"We wanted a light, bright space that kept the architectural intent of the home and functioned for a modern family," says Kim. "We have three daughters who are 20, 18 and 15. They all play on field hockey teams. We always have parties and sports banquets, sometimes for 60 to 100 people, and regardless of where the party starts, everyone always ends up in the kitchen."
They doubled the size of the kitchen, to a little more than 300 square feet, by incorporating an inefficient butler's pantry and adding a 457-foot bump-out for a bay window and window seat, the ideal spot for the girls to hang out, chat on the phone and do their homework. Large windows were added over the sink to wash the room with sunlight, and the quarter-sawn oak ceiling beams and woodwork in the dining room were copied and painted white to lighten the look.
Kitchen designer Jean Stoffer, based in River Forest, Illinois, supplied the creative period details, which include an oak floor, red-glass drawer knobs, a breakfront that showcases a collection of vintage silver and Depression glass, and a matching refrigerator/ pantry and refrigerator/freezer that look like cabinets. The room's showstopping element is the dramatic Victorian-style treatment surrounding the stainless steel sink and countertop. "The countertop, which was a salvage piece, was two feet too short, so we built drawers that were inspired by the hanky drawers of a 19th Century dresser on each side and added curved brackets," she says. "The space gave us room for a lamp and collectibles, and the little drawers are used to store everything from takeout menus to pot holders."
The central island, the heart of the kitchen, does triple duty: as a food-prep area, a dining table and a big buffet for the pounds of pasta and homemade sugar cookies Kim fixes for family, field hockey teams and friends. A double oven and two dishwashers make cooking and cleanup a snap.
"Whether I'm baking cookies or shining the antique silver, I like to turn life's chores into a party," Kim says. "And when my daughters and I do these tasks in the new kitchen, it's a real bonding experience."