“This is my forever kitchen.” —Yvonne Bell
Yvonne Bell and her husband, Bill, have lived in in the same house in Round Hill for 40 years and plan to retire there. But, when Yvonne thought of people walking from the backyard pool through the dining room across an oriental rug to get to the kitchen, she declared it time for a change.
Aside from moving the kitchen from the front of the house to the rear, she had no pre-conceptions. Enter Richard Forbes from Absolute Kitchens Inc.
“Kitchens are not about appliances or cabinets or countertops,” Richard says. “My background is in architecture so, to me, it’s about how you cook and entertain and live in the space that matters.”
He spent hours asking questions, measuring furniture the couple wanted to keep and surveying the Bell’s dishes, cutlery, cooking pans, pots and utensils, and even spices commonly in use.
Down came a wall separating the former dining room from the old kitchen. In went a built-in Subzero refrigerator with two freezer drawers to the left, a 36-inch smooth, electric Bosch cooktop in the middle of a 108-inch countertop, and accompanying oven, microwave, convection oven and warming oven to the right, with a sliding pantry just beyond the ovens.
Richard nicknames the cabinets from Quality Custom Cabinetry of New Holland, Pennsylvania, “the Stepford Wives of kitchen cabinetry,” for the perfection of their construction. Though they appear white, the cabinets sport a blue, striated wash, which, with the natural and recessed lighting, makes the ceiling look a bit higher. The island is painted a darker blue, with a brown glaze to help incorporate the couple’s beautifully striated brown and gray quartzite countertop and splashback.
Richard dislikes seams, so the wall of maple that frames the cabinetry, the nine drawers under the cooktop and the appliances, was constructed in one piece. Each drawer has a specific purpose: one has posts for plates, while another sports slots for spice jars and a fixed knife block.
The 9-foot island with sink offers a curved surface to those seated at the bar so people don’t have to lean forward to chat. The sink is Swiss-made stainless steel with a high nickel content that will hold its finish. Handily, the dishwasher is adjacent to the sink within easy reach of those dining at the bar. And, finally, the bar chairs were hand-made by Shenandoah Kitchen and Home in Purcellville.
Construction ran from Feb. 6 to early May. Richard has done simple “pull and replace” jobs in as few as two weeks but says, “I don’t do many of those kinds of kitchens. I enjoy the hard ones.”
Spices from Full Moon Farm, a Certified Organic Farm in Sperryville, Virginia, that Sells at the Leesburg Farmers Market Every Saturday