Hakarl and Jili's Room for Family

Kitchen Tour

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Three years ago Hakarl and his partner Jili decided to conceive and raise a child with a lesbian couple. The child actually turned out to be a set of twins, and the two couples decided to form a family of their own making. Both couples bought apartments in the same building in Wiliamsburg, Brooklyn, and the two girls now spend time in each of the homes. This burgeoning family, according to Hakarl, necessitated a few kitchen tweaks. First on the list: an oversized table that could easily fit eight people.

Being a parent still seems a bit of a shock to both Hakarl and Jili, even though they planned out the idea of having children for years prior to its implementation! As a concession to their life before children, they decided to remain in the neighborhood they love, to always keep a couple of bottles of Champagne in the fridge, and to continue to design to their standards.

The kitchen is no exception. Other than putting a set of china in the basement storage unit, Hakarl is comfortable with beautiful pieces being part of everyday living. Getting an oversized dining table represented the "transition from party space to family space." The table is large and round, and gently nudged into a small square dining area.

10 Questions for Hakarl (and His Kitchen)

What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
I grew up surrounded by stacks of off-white dinner plates and stainless kitchen counters: my family owned a small hotel in Germany. Now, 30 years later, I'm still trying to recreate my mom's kitchen by mixing personal items with industrial kitchen supplies, a serving cart and tons of off-white dishes.

What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
It's the dishwasher for making me a more relaxed party host. No more hunting down a guest's wineglasses for refills — I just take a new one.

What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
A Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people.

Biggest challenge in your kitchen?
All the appliances are very close together — cooking with two people is a pretty tight squeeze.

Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen?
The oversized table: Jili and I both grew up in large families, and a table that can easily fit eight people says home to me.

Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
Eventually, we'll have to upgrade to a commercial kitchen cart. Our current one is from Ikea and way too wobbly for rolling out cookie dough or chopping vegetables.

How would you describe your cooking style?
Wish i could say spontaneous, but i'm more the recipe and shopping list kinda guy. Jili always makes fun of my test runs before a dinner party.

Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
A friend gave me this stainless steel egg to get rid of onion and garlic odors from my hands — it works!

What is your favorite cookbook?
I always go back to the Food & Wine annual cookbooks.

What are you cooking this week?
A hearty onion soup.

Featured Resources

• Dishwasher — eBay
• Off-white dishes — Fishs Eddy
• Glassware — The Conran Shop
• Serving cart w/ chopping block — Ikea
• Pots and pans — Broadway Panhandler / The Whisk (Williamsburg)
• Rug — Jonathan Adler
• Lampshade — Gracious Home
• Pantry door — covered in chalkboard cloth ordered on Amazon.com

• Kitchen Tour Archive: Check out past kitchen tours here

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(Images: Jill Slater)

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