There's a saying about the cobbler's kids going barefoot—it's one I've heard many designers reference when speaking about their own homes. For Kansas City, Missouri–based Laura McCroskey, this was the case with the home she and her husband moved into about 15 years ago. "I was just so busy with my design company, I never got to my own house," she says. That is, until a few years ago, when she set out on a "complete remodel." The upside? Over a decade of living in the space had crystallized exactly what she wanted and needed from the space. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the kitchen, where McCroskey blended her elegant style with savvy incorporation of tools, appliances, and designated spaces to make cooking and hosting a breeze.
"There was just nothing that wowed you," says McCroskey of the former space, which featured a smaller cooktop, barely any windows, and an odd layout. "I always hated cooking in there." Plus, it wasn't practical: "You had to kind of cook at an angle," the designer says.
In an immediate departure from the "nothing special" former kitchen, McCroskey decided to begin her new design with a feature wall, a design process that underscores the attention to detail in this project: "It took me two years to find the right marble," says the designer. The winner? Vagli, an Italian stone with rich veining, which serves as the centerpiece of the kitchen, both in a range surround and custom hood as well as on a center island (more on that later!).
Inspired by SieMatic, the German purveyor of hyper-functional kitchens, the designer installed sliding panels above the range, which transform it from wood wall to window to spice storage in a system both beautiful and useful. “I basically have everything I need for cooking in those little panels,” says McCroskey.
Besides its showstopping stone, the island is an eye-catcher for its unusual shape and classical-inspired details. "A lot of times when we entertain we think we need a ton of counter stools, but most of the time people just crowd around or lean on the island, so I didn't want to do a ton of stools," she says. Limiting it to just the two Kelly Wearstler stools at the end allowed McCroskey to create a dramatic waterfall effect along two sides. She gave two of the island's opposite corners a beveled effect ("It just adds some personality," she says) and then echoed the room's baseboard in marble along the bottom.
Set within the island is the chef's dream tool: a sink from Julien, the Canadian brand known for its built-in tools. McCroskey's has an attached envelope to store sponges as well as snap-in drying racks and cutting boards (the faucet is from Rohl). "I crave cooking," says the designer. "So not only did I want the kitchen to be beautiful, it had to be functional."
Connected to the main kitchen by a wide, arched opening is McCroskey's baking station, where she has everything she needs for cookies, pies, breads, and more: There's a KitchenAid stand mixer, Gaggenau steam and convection ovens, cabinets for mixing bowls, freezer drawers, and, of course, marble countertop perfect for rolling out dough. Open shelving shows off the wood walls and allows McCroskey to display pretty storage pieces and favorite cookbooks. "I actually use everything up there," the designer says—"It's not just for photo shoots!"
"I don't even have glasses in my kitchen," says McCroskey. Instead "everything having to do with drinks" is relegated to the other side of the main kitchen area across from the baking zone. On one side of this room is a coffee station, with a Miele coffeemaker and cups for espresso, lattes, and more. On the other...
...is a bar area, with an integrated wine fridge and sleek paneled cabinetry to hide an ice maker, beverage drawers, and all of her glassware, as well as a second dishwasher—a game-changer for parties.
Here, McCroskey stuck to closed shelving, allowing the prettier canisters in the baking section to catch the eye. "If you plan it right, it really can be beautiful," she says of her storage. We'd say that applies to the whole kitchen.
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