As it becomes harder to ignore the effects of too many Big Macs, our kitchens are regaining a position of prominence in not just our homes but also our lifestyles. But the fact that we’re using them more doesn’t mean that they should be merely utilitarian.

Meals & MemoriesMeals & MemoriesMeals & Memories

Kitchens are getting very fashionable, and they are far from one-size-fits-all. From Mary B. Thompson’s country-chic kitchen that centers around her antique farm table and uses a soft color palette of blues, yellows and creams to Reggie Bush’s ultra-contemporary black-and-gold kitchen to Jason Waguespack’s century-old updated kitchen in black, white and silver, these stylish rooms have little in common besides the presence of a stove and a refrigerator.

A Group Effort
By Leigh Ann Stuart, Photographed by Sara Essex

When designing his kitchen, Jason Waguespack, a partner at the law
firm of Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr and Smith, enlisted the help of a team
of professionals.
Meals & MemoriesHis team comprised an array of specialists, including Sean Sullivan of SCNZ Architects LLC, Jimmy Clay of Jimmy Clay Design, and Mary Satterlee of UDwell.
It is no wonder Waguespack sought out the experts in renovating this room; after all, the house is more than a century old!

“The house was built in 1853 and originally did not have an attached kitchen,” Waguespack says. “Cooking was performed in an unattached kitchen in the summer and in an outdoor brick oven below the home’s raised floor in the winter. At some point in time, a kitchen was added to the house. The kitchen was functional, but it was a distinct room with very little natural light, which made it feel isolated and dark, not at all conducive to entertaining.”

And, though history adds character and irrevocable charm to the home, the room was not living up to its fullest potential. This is where the professionals stepped in.

“Sean [Sullivan] and Jimmy [Clay] opened up the wall overlooking the den, added transoms to the French doors and widened the doors to create the feeling of the kitchen and the adjoining breakfast area being one big space,” he says. “The kitchen now feels open, Meals & Memoriesnot only to the outside gallery but also to the den and breakfast room. The result is a space with increased natural light and a much more functional flow.”     

In fact, the kitchen’s lighting concept was designed for comfortable entertaining.
“Above all the kitchen cabinets, as well as below, there is indirect lighting,” Jimmy Clay says of his design, “so you don’t get any harsh or garish light on guests and food.”

Waguespack admits that renovating the kitchen was not initially at the top of his
to-do list; however, he found out, shortly after buying the home, that he could not escape kitchen entertaining.

“When I bought the house in 1996, the kitchen was the room in most need of attention,” he says. “But because I am not a cook, I put off its renovation in favor of other projects. Yet every time I had friends over, they ended up in the kitchen. No matter how hard I tried to steer guests away from the room, by the end of the evening, the kitchen was filled with people.

“Finally,” he explains, “I decided it was time to start the much-needed renovation. Now that it is done, I could not be happier with the room.” •

The Family Table
By Leigh Ann Stuart, Photographed by Theresa Cassagne

Mary B. Thompson, mother of four, wanted her kitchen to be a warm, welcoming and functional space that her family could use to spend time together. “My inspiration, Meals & Memoriesin all of my home, comes from a few close friends who also want their homes to be a haven for their families,” she says. “The kitchen is the heart of the home.”

An employee of Ballin’s LTD in Covington, Thompson spends her days surrounded by tasteful color and design.

“I stayed with my favorite colors: blue, yellow and cream,” Thompson says. “These are happy colors that flow well with the rest of my house and the garden, which is always an inspiration no matter what season.”

Viking, Sub-Zero, GE and ASKO items fill the room, complementing granite countertops and lighting by Lighting Inc.

“I’ve filled [the kitchen] with favorite things, staying true to myself,” she says.

At the top of her list of the most treasured items in the room is her kitchen table.

“I love my pine farm table,” she says of her antique table and chairs from Past Restored. “It’s where we all can come together and catch up with one another’s days. It’s sturdy Meals & Memoriesand durable, and I love that other families sat at this same table years ago.”

The view from Thompson’s kitchen adds to the warmth of the room.
“My kitchen makes me happy because it’s right off the patio, so we can enjoy the view of the garden,” she says.

A lovely vista and comfortable appointment inspire Thompson to make every meal at home a special experience.

“When we have even the simplest of meals, I try to always have candlelight, a few flowers from the garden and a nicely set table,” she says. Additionally, she likes to foster pleasant ambiance by setting out fresh fruits and vegetables whenever they’re in season.

Regardless of fixtures and materials, Thompson loves her kitchen for what it brings to her home.

She says, “Most of all, when the people I love are all gathered around together at the table and we are sharing a meal together, life is truly at its best.” •

Fit for a Saint
By Eve Kidd Crawford, Photographed by Sara Essex

On the playing field, Saints running back Reggie Bush is decisive. But when it came to his kitchen, he stood on the sidelines and put all of his trust in his designer, Trudy Hurley of Green Parrot Interior Designs.

Meals & Memories“He said: ‘I love black. I want it contemporary.’ And then he was off to California again,” Hurley recalls. “I had free reign, and it was so much fun.”

Fitting black into the design was easy for Hurley. She chose Absolute Black granite countertops and black Viking appliances and used black and beige Walker Zanger tile in a Harlequin pattern from Stafford Tile & Stone for the backsplash.

Keeping it contemporary, however, was more of a challenge for her. “In New Orleans, everyone loves antiques,” she says. “I use at least a few in almost every project. But he said, ‘No antiques!’ So the kitchen is super-slick, super-contemporary and super-clean.”

Hurley oversaw the remodeling of Bush’s entire condo, which was completely gutted, and did all of the decorating. “He didn’t bring a stick of furniture,” she says. “He didn’t bring a picture frame. So with his kitchen, I did everything from pick out the tile to stock his fridge. I made sure he had spices in his spice cabinet. Plates, silverware, everything.”

Her favorite kitchen feature is the floor, which resembles a wood floor but is actually Lagos Gold stone from Spain. “Instead of just typical 12-by-12 squares, we cut it in 4-by-16 planks,” she says. “It’s a neat effect.”

That might be her favorite detail, but nothing, no matter how small, was overlooked. Even the switch plates were painstakingly painted by Keith Guy Inc. to blend in with the Harlequin-patterned backsplash. Overall, Hurley remembers this as one
of her most demanding jobs. “Because of time constraints, I worked harder on this project than I’ve ever worked,” she says.

“It was insane.” But it was also ultimately one of her most rewarding. “He loved it,” she says of Bush. “He was very, very happy. It was exactly what he wanted.” •