To describe this kitchen, featured in the April issue of Dwell, as jaw-droppingly fabulous is almost an understatement. This hardworking kitchen serves a family that takes food seriously, doing everything from making wine from homegrown grapes to roasting an entire wild boar in the oversized fireplace. And not only does it look good and work hard, it is also designed to be fully wheelchair accessible.
The family and the architects took a task-oriented approach to designing the kitchen for Orchard House, as this Sonoma County home is called. As beautiful as it is, every aspect of its pragmatic layout stems from physical and professional considerations:
In the center of the main living area, an enormous slab of salvaged cypress cuts across the space, resting on sawhorses with open shelving underneath. Throughout the house all storage areas are open, leaving crockery, dishware, food, books, and clothes in plain view. "There is no cabinet or drawer here," explains Naomi, "because one of the hard things when you are in a wheelchair is to back up and open a door at the same time."
Metal buckets of wooden spoons on the counter, giant bowls of table grapes from the garden, and a five-gallon jug of fermenting wine don't amount to visual chaos; rather, they're evidence of a hands-on existence.
Many of the culinary craft projects are an extension of Ben's work as an artist and dealer of antiquarian books about food and wine... Next to a gaping fireplace in the sitting area is the most prized and frequently used of his antique cooking implements, an 18th-century French tourne-broche à poids—a delightfully analog contraption for turning a spit over a flame.
Images: Dave Lauridsen