Haskell Matheny, ASID, CAPS, LEED Green Associate and Principal Designer for Haskell Interiors, thought he had tackled just about every possible challenge in kitchen design, until a couple from Signal Mountain, TN with three young children and one large dog asked, “Can you help us turn our garage into a dream kitchen?" After thinking for a moment, Haskell said, “Yes, and when can we start?”
Actually the space was large—literally a two-car garage. The good news: there was a ton of open space for creativity. The real challenge, though, came in the form of an exhaustive list of requirements from the wife, the family’s main cook. Not only did she want the latest in professional appliances, she also needed storage for many specialized small appliances, many specialty pots and pans, multiple sets of dishes, linen storage, baking items, a coffee station, and of course 15 chopping blocks, 12 cookie sheets, plus an entire area devoted to an office and a separate bar area for cocktails and liquor storage. Suddenly what was a large raw space became very small.
Haskell first divided the area into three zones: the main kitchen, the butler’s pantry and the bar and home office. A storage room, originally for lawn equipment, converted nicely into a home office area. the main 2-car garage space itself to be divided into the kitchen, the butler’s pantry, and the mud room. To give the room architectural interest, Haskell devised an archway, reminiscent of home’s original character, separating the kitchen from the butler’s pantry and bar area. Within this arch, he created a coffee station on one side and additional dish storage on the other.
To accommodate the large number of serving pieces and china, Haskell created two china armoires with antique glass within the butler’s pantry. In the kitchen, another pair of armoires provides maximum storage for small appliances and pots and pans.
The final big challenge was to accommodate differing styles between husband and wife. She wanted an “urban” feel with exposed brick, old beams, and lots or worn vintage character. He, on the other hand, wanted modern, clean lines. Haskell mixed materials and finishes to achieve a space where both feel comfortable. Stainless accents and appliances appeal to both. The Espresso finish of the dark cherry cabinetry appealed to her while the simple door style appealed to him. The custom hood, made from a 100 year old reclaimed beam, gives her the rustic feel she longed for while the backsplash, with both stone and glass, has something for both. They both fell in love with the Rainforest granite for the island which appealed to her organic sense and his modern style. Elsewhere, other material choices continue to balance rustic texture with sleek, clean lines.
After months of renovation, the family now has a kitchen that caters to her extensive cooking needs, accommodates large gatherings and parties and makes everyone feel comfortable and relaxed. Who knew you could achieve so much function from a garage?