When Kevin and Lisa Goldstein purchased 26 acres in a Manakin-Sabot subdivision, they envisioned a new life with a decidedly un-American ideal: living small. Or call it the post-boom, new American ideal: more living with less stuff.
Lisa, a co-owner of the Goochland County restaurant Edible Garden, already believed in sustainable eating – the restaurant sources most of its food from within a 100-mile radius – but her lifestyle seemed somewhat excessive. "There were so many rooms in our old house that our family wouldn't live in or look at for months," she says, "It was kind of kooky."
So the Goldsteins hired local architecture and design firm 3North to build them a less cumbersome home. And given Lisa's field, the kitchen was of utmost importance. She wanted an efficient kitchen, one where the whole family would be comfortable gathering, and one that was easy to keep clean when hosting dinner parties or family holidays.
"It's not this prissy, pristine show kitchen. It's a real working kitchen," says Kristi Pipes Lane, a partner and interior designer at 3North. "With everything else in the house, [Lisa] was like, ‘Do what you think is right.'" The kitchen is where they chose to focus their resources, in some cases foregoing things such as cabinetry in the living areas in favor of top amenities in the kitchen.
"My last kitchen was enormous, over 900 square feet, but it was just stupid space," says Lisa. "I had a lot of open space but not a lot of counter space."
The Goldsteins' efficient, new 250-square-foot kitchen and accompanying 100-square-foot pantry are a cook's dream. The work space is limited to a small triangle with sink, stove and refrigerator all within close reach. The sink is deep and divided.
Two dishwasher drawers are incorporated at hip level on either side of the sink. The 60-inch Wolf range features six burners plus a griddle and grill. Its two side-by-side ovens are deep enough to fit a full-size, 26-inch sheet pan lengthwise. And a microwave drawer is tucked under the counter, which allows easy access for daughter, Eleanor, 9, and son, George, 7.
"My kitchen is about what's easy to get at," says Lisa. "Everything is within reach. You just have to turn and there it is. You don't have to take 20 strides like in my old kitchen."
This kitchen's secret weapon is, in fact, not in the kitchen at all. It's a generous pantry spanning from the floor to the ceiling with cubbyholes, drawers and shelves custom-sized to fit certain appliances. Not only do things like food processors and blenders have their own spaces, they also have outlets and counters, so they can be used within the pantry. There's even a wall of bars from which to hang table linens of various sizes.
"Everything is visible; if I need a pot it's there," says Lisa. "In my last kitchen, if I needed a pot I had to move 10 things to get to that pot."
While functionality was of utmost importance to the Goldsteins, 3North knew livability was right up there, too, especially with families gathering to cook together. The 3North team picked a palette of harvest hues to give the kitchen a down-to-earth, craftsmen-style appeal.
The honed, black-granite countertops have a raised bar area with stools so that countertop messes are hidden from guests. Three doorways leading to and from the kitchen allow for great circulation. And comforts like a wood-burning fireplace and built-in booth around an antique table mean the family can hang out, cook together and gather for casual meals.
Now with less house to maintain, the Goldsteins have more time to spend outdoors. Chickens wander the property and provide eggs for the restaurant. Behind the house, Eleanor and George grow vegetables, which has gotten them more interested in turning those crops into meals. Soon Mom may have to make room for the family's newest chefs.