(I think my ‘80s roots are showing – thank you, Chicago.)
We’ve gathered inspiration for our home from a wide variety of sources. I’ve been big on hitting the Parade of Homes tour the last few years. Of course, I never cared about the “average” houses. Oh no. If I was shucking out the bucks I was going to see how the other half lived. I love it when the doc’s in the area put their multi-million dollar homes up for show. My camera gets a real workout on those tours (sometimes just for the sheer ridiculousness of the excess). I also have 3 accordion files worth of stuff I’ve ripped out of magazines over the last ten years – BHG, Martha, Real Simple, etc. etc. (I know – what am I ever going to do with 3 files worth, eh? Recycle most of ‘em I expect. What I thought was “awesome” ten years ago I probably hate today.)
But MY biggest influence for this house? The heart of this home for me? The one thing I refused to compromise (much) on? That’s all A.B.
That’d be Alton Brown. Well…not him in and of himself exactly, but his kitchen. I’ve been a fan of Good Eats from the very beginning of the show. He combines my love of cooking with my engineer’s desire for science. And he’s so durn kooky what with the puppets and all. (If you’ve never seen this show, go now. Set your tivo, dvr, or vcr. You must watch it at least once. It’s the show that redeems Food Network for all that is Rachel Ray and her ridiculous “EVOO” crap.)
During the early seasons of Good Eats, AB’s kitchen was, well, “ew”. The show has always been designed to feel as if you’re sitting at his kitchen counter watching and learning as he cooks. And originally it was all about the science and hardly any measurements were given with the recipes. As the show developed a following (can you say cult? I knew you could.) the money rolled in and AB got a new set of digs. And I knew the minute I saw it, I wanted it.
When Josh and I started dreaming up our dream home, this was at the top of my list. “I want AB’s kitchen.” I tivo’d numerous episodes with good shots of the kitchen. (Thinking I’d later pull them up and take some pics of the screen if I couldn’t find anything else.) I scoured the internet to find out what I could. I knew the original was the producer’s actual home (I was a year or so late to get in on the ebay auction for the house). I knew since then they’d moved into a studio for filming. I was fortunate enough to find an article from Home Magazine that featured the Good Eats kitchen. Floor plan and all.
One quick look and I knew I’d have to make some compromises. Because a roughly 30’ wide kitchen was probably a bit of overkill for your average American family. (Ignore that scale they slapped on there – it’s not even close to accurate.) And shortening the plan meant I’d lose some of the options. As much as I loved loved loved those double wall ovens, shortening the width of the kitchen meant they’d have to be stacked right next to the fridge (besides the fact that I’d need to win the lottery to afford them). And I liked that bit of counter between. I also had to let go of the built in desk in exchange for some pantry space. And the 7’ long detachable island also got the ax (ouch).
But I was keeping what I really liked. An efficient open space. Hardly any upper cabinets and lots of drawers under the counters. A built in banquette for every day meals. An open plan to the living room. A whole wall of windows. I did keep most of the island – although I’m still trying to work out the whole angle bit. And instead of the double wall ovens (*sob*) we put a slide in range at the island and a cabinet for a microwave where the ovens went.
I also never did find any information on what the REST of the house looked like. I searched, I emailed, I made phone calls. Nothing. So if you’re out there reading this Good Eats people…thanks for nothing. J