Christan & Jenna's Blended East Atlanta Kitchen

Christan & Jenna's Blended East Atlanta Kitchen

(Image credit: Amy Herr)

Who cooks and eats here: Christan Vick & Jenna Novic
Where: East Atlanta, Georgia
Rent or Own? Own

Christan Vick and her wife Jenna share a 60s style ranch house in the East Atlanta neighborhood, decorated in equal parts mid-century modern and southern tradition. When Christan first joined Jenna in the home, which Jenna had purchased with an eye to renovation, they were still building their relationship; now, several years later, they can see the permanence of their bond reflected in the refinished house, especially the kitchen.

Read on about their three-day (yes, three!) kitchen renovation, and what makes them love it now.

(Image credit: Amy Herr)

How Christan & Jenna Renovated Their Kitchen

Jenna, an experienced flooring installer, and Christan, a photo stylist, were able to make their skill sets mesh with the kitchen redo. "We lucked out [with the cabinets] because IKEA hadn't opened in Atlanta yet, and they were giving amazing deals and free shipping to promote the store opening here," says Christan, which led to the purchase of new cabinets to give much needed storage space.

The entire re-do was accomplished in an amazing three days including demolition ("Jenna did most of that," says Christan) with the installation of the cabinets taking the lion's share of time, and remained within the original kitchen's footprint and used the same piping layout to save on costs.

The GE Profile stove is the star and workhorse of the new layout, and holds special significance to the couple: "It was the first major purchase we made together," says Christan, explaining that it was a sign the relationship was becoming permanent. The oven gets a bit less of a workout these days, since Christan is now gluten free: "I had to give up [most] baking."

But the gas stovetop is in daily use, including heating up a hand-cranked "Detonator" popcorn popper the couple uses weekly. "A friend of ours had one, and we found another at a yard sale and had to have it," says Jenna. Equally pleased by the purchase is Oscar, one of the couple's two rescue dogs. "He LOVES popcorn!" says Christian. "He [will] come from anywhere in the house when he hears the popper going."

(Image credit: Amy Herr)

10 Questions for Christan

1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?

I like to do a lot of big salads and things, because it keeps us from coming in and saying, 'There's nothing to eat.' I like things I can make that will last all week.

2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?

We have a Bodum French press we use a lot. And I have a chef's knife I inherited from my grandmother that I use every day.

3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?

Jenna's 40th birthday fell on Thanksgiving and we had her sister and niece in town. It was so fun cooking with my niece and the menu was all of Jenna's favorite holiday items. It was so warm that day we ate early dinner outside in the porch and later that night we had a bunch of friends over for a dessert feast. It was such a great day.

4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Storage! The new cabinets helped but we also got an open wire shelving unit to help with storage — I keep old wooden wine boxes on them to organize things.

5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I sometimes wish the cabinets weren't IKEA — they have that slightly unfinished look some IKEA stuff has — but it suited our budget at the time. And I have real mid-century Swedish chairs [in the dining room] that everyone assumes are IKEA copies because we have other IKEA things.

(Image credit: Amy Herr)

6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen?

The stove. We bought it with money from an inheritance [from a grandparent] and it was our first major purchase together.

7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?

I think we have it where we want it for now. More storage, maybe.

8. How would you describe your cooking style?

Lots of salads and vegetables. We took a trip to Spain and I was really inspired by all the fresh vegetables there, how they were used.

9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received?

My good friend Ria [Pell] was always an amazing advisor to me, she taught me how to make a perfect thanksgiving turkey, she was always happy to pass along her knowledge of cooking, her cooking brought so many people joy and I hope that some of the things she passed on to me can keep her legacy going.

10. What are you cooking this week?

My kale-parmesan salad. I love it because I can make it and it lasts all week — definitely enough for several meals.

(Image credit: Amy Herr)

Resources of Note

(Image credit: Amy Herr)

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