All fired up

An indoor grill and large island make entertaining easy

View of kitchen with wooden cabinetry and red cabinetry, countertop, cuisine classique, estate, interior design, kitchen, room, brown
View of kitchen with wooden cabinetry and red floor rug.

There's nothing quite like the taste of food cooked on an outdoor grill, but it's usually a treat reserved for summer.

That's not the case for the owners of this new house, however. With a custom-made indoor grill they can cook alfresco style all year round.

Architects Tom Ellison (principal) and Petra Schwartze of TEA2 Architects were charged with designing a family home in a traditional Tudor style to blend in with the neighboring historic homes surrounding one of the city lakes. Schwartze says the grill and fireplace surround are in keeping with the Tudor design influences.

"The exterior of the house features half-timber and stucco," she says. "The look continues on the interior, with the stucco and stone fireplace surround, wood-beamed ceiling and detailing. Leadlight windows are another reference and a link with the original house that once stood on this site."

View of dining area with set table and café, dining room, interior design, living room, lobby, restaurant, brown
View of dining area with set table and chandelier.

Schwartze also looked to the past tore-create the old-style grill, which features a tray for wood and charcoal. The tray can be raised or lowered by a crank handle to alter the cooking temperature of the metal grill on top. The architect oversaw the refurbishment of a similar grill in a 1940s house, and had the design replicated.

In addition to the wood-burning grill, the kitchen features large Wolf ovens and gas and ceramic cooktops on an extra-large 12ft-long island.

"The owners love to cook and have extended family get-togethers," Schwartze says. "The husband also likes to hunt, so there is plenty of activity, and people coming and going. As we were planning the kitchen, the island kept getting bigger and bigger. It is right at the center of the great room and everyone congregates around it, so we wanted to ensure the space would be comfortable."

The island has the same traditional face-framed walnut cabinetry as the rest of the kitchen, with the addition of solid turned legs on the four corners.

View of traditional style lounge area with brown ceiling, interior design, living room, lobby, room, brown
View of traditional style lounge area with brown toned seats.

"Because the kitchen is part of the living room, we wanted the cabinetry to have some formality," says the architect. "We didn't want an obvious kitchen look, so the cabinetry is more like furniture. The curved legs bookend the island and give it visual weight and a sense of permanence."

To make a strong design statement, the walnut cabinetry is teamed with Aphrodite Green Labradorite granite, which has been honed, rather than polished, for a softer, more casual look.

Another distinctive feature of the kitchen is a high wood shelf that displays collectibles. Schwartze says the shelf was a way to scale back the high ceiling.

Credit list

Interior designer
Jeanne Blenkush and Diane Lumpkin, RCC Interiors
Cabinet company
Siewert Cabinets
Aphrodite Green Labradorite granite
Doors and windows
Decorative pendants from Wilmette Lighting; recessed lighting from Lightolier
Rohl Shaws Country in polished nickel
Choice Wood
Walnut with Old Masters wiping stain; cedar
White oak
Benjamin Moore
Rohl Shaws apron
Ovens and cooktop

Story by: Colleen Hawkes

Photography by: Brian Droege

21 Feb, 2012

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