Kitchens Transformed

Cooking with Ideas

Architect: Steven R. Quarls of the Hopkins Co. Kitchen designer: Courtney Murphy with help from chef and restaurateur Joel Dondis
Contractor: Andrew Smith

The turn-of-the-century house had been in good hands for many years, but when Courtney and Spencer Murphy bought it, it needed some updating. The Murphys turned to architect Steven Quarls of the Hopkins Co. to come up with a floor plan to transform the home. Renovations commenced, with the Murphys—which includes Jane, age 4, and Clayton, age 2—living downstairs while the upstairs was being worked on, then moving upstairs when the downstairs was being done.

The kitchen, which was circa 1950s in style, was of particular focus for the Murphys. Over a glass of red wine, Courtney brainstormed with restaurateur and caterer Joel Dondis over the kitchen’s design. She wanted it kid friendly, but wanted to “funk it up” a bit.

The kid-friendly part becomes apparent with the granite-topped table that abuts a counter.

It’s sized perfectly for the children to sit at—and Courtney doesn’t have to worry about them falling off of bar stools one normally finds in kitchens. There’s even a chalkboard placed low enough so Clayton and Jane can easily draw when they’re inspired. Courtney also likes the table because it separates the prep area from the eating area. The “funk” part was created by the backsplash behind the stove. A custom blend of Oceanside glass tile, it adds an unexpected visual element to the room.

The kitchen opens up to a great room, which was the old study. This was accomplished by knocking out a dividing wall. French doors lead out to a porch—a new addition to the house.

The kitchen and the great room are now the focus of family life—all it needed was a little modernizing and some “funk.” •

A Great Addition

Architect: Allison Stouse
Kitchen designer: Leslie Lo
mont-Relayson of Cabinets by Design
Contractor: Edifice Builders

It’s a tale of needing more room—one that many Uptown homeowners who live in old homes know all to well. For one family—husband, wife, a daughter, a son and their dog, Bella—their 19th-century home was in need of a new kitchen. They could renovate the existing kitchen, but given the opportunity create a new one via an addition to the home, the couple went that route.

But instead of being traditional—building an addition that from all appearances from the street blended into the house like it had always been there, the couple decided to do something different, utterly modern. “I’m not inclined to repeat the past,” says the wife. “So I responded to the current environment, time, the way we live.” The result is a surprise—not in an obvious, out-of-place way, but like well-designed modern additions to older buildings, enhances it. Inside, a new kitchen and mud room was created on the first floor, and a bedroom and playroom on the second floor.

Though contemporary at first sight, what makes the kitchen so striking is the thoughtfulness of design. Limestone is used for the countertops and backsplash, creating a seamless line. The island was designed by architect Allison Stouse and her husband, Pierre Stouse, owner of Edifice Builders. Crafted out of cabinets from Cabinets by Design, the island was then wrapped in stainless steel and placed on casters so it could move as needed. “We like to cook together, so it’s nice to be able to create some extra room. And we can move it, so it can be used as a buffet for a party,” the wife says. “The idea is that because it can move, it frees up the room.”

The rest of the house? It’s a chic mix of family antiques and contemporary touches. It honors the past, while celebrating the present. •

Creating New Memories

Kitchen designer: Monique Poché Bennett of Cabinets by Design
Interior Designer: Jeanne Barousse
Contractor: Edifice Builders

For one young couple, becoming pioneers in a Warehouse District neighborhood seemed natural. The building, which had been built as a commercial property in 1858, had been converted to a residence in 1992, so it seemed like they wouldn’t have to do much work. However, the renovation had been tailored to a bachelor—and since they planned to start a family, the layout was going to have to change. Fourteen months later, with a renovation from top to bottom, the home was complete—and in the meantime, they had a baby girl. (Luckily they had a carriage house to live in while the work progressed.)

One of the biggest changes was downstairs, where the kitchen, great room and a powder room are located. The kitchen originally was in the center in the room, in some ways blocking the flow from front to back. A decision to move the kitchen towards the back and to the side was made, creating a large great room. Both the kitchen and great room face the courtyard with French doors, so natural light is not a problem.

Ideas came from a number of different sources. Their honeymoon in Tahiti—where the buildings the couple stayed in were made out of teak—inspired the floors and the siding of the island. The husband had already seen teak in a client’s home and liked it there, so it was a good fit. The kitchen is also raised up a few inches from the ground floor—an idea the husband said he got from a kitchen previously published in New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles.

The kitchen is noted for its sophisticated blend of different components. “We wanted to use natural materials—slate, granite, teak, in addition to steel,” says the husband. “We decided on the elements already, Jeanne [Barousse] made sure it worked together.” Dark cabinets are contrasted by the cool hues of steel, while the teak adds a visual surprise, especially with the varying shades on the side of the island. This combination of natural and industrial makes this kitchen one that will stand the test of time. •