Amidst the gorgeous architecture and design, lies the fabulous detail I mentioned -- Jennifer's hand-thrown pottery. That's right, Jennifer has made nearly every vessel the couple eats and drinks with. Her work is artful and lovely, glazed in a variety of natural shades.
When I asked Jennifer and Jason how it affected their eating, using dishes that Jennifer had made, they humbly shrugged their shoulders and answered, "We always use them, so I guess we're just used to it." Jason loved the way a beer tastes in a proper mug, which reminded him of medieval times when ale always came from a clay cup. These unique, personal objects gave anyone lucky enough to spend time in this space a true insight into one of the owners' creative powers.
Jennifer and Jason live in Northeast Portland, Oregon. Their house is very open with lots of beautifully-designed furniture and art, as well as a second-story green roof (a water-catch system with loads of luscious plants). The kitchen though, is the gem of the space, with huge windows overlooking the garden and an adjacent porch for summer dining.
9 Questions for Jennifer and Jason (and Their Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
Making the best use of what's in season and available locally, recipes that result in leftovers for at least one more meal.
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
The compost chute, global chef knife, cast iron frying pan, KitchenAid mixer, insta-hot water spigot and our newest tool, the immersion blender for making great soups.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Moqueca (Brazilian fish stew), meals we have the time to plan/prepare/cook for friends and family.
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Our old kitchen had a lot of challenges, small size, lack of counter space, lack of storage, too much circulation through it, poor lighting, poor connection to the garden. We tried to solve those issues with the new kitchen addition with ample natural light from the side and from above, focused lighting at all the working surfaces, segregated public (eating/chatting with the cook) space and private (storage/preparation/cooking) space, lots of counter space, good aisle width (for door swings/people to cook/prep/move back to back), direct connection to the garden and new deck.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Revise the doors on the pull-out pantry.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
Kitchen cabinets from Kerf in Seattle, functional, beautiful, customized to our need, great folks to work with. Also love our large butcher block island (3'x6' with seating for 4), we chop and prep anywhere on it.
7. How would you describe your cooking style?
I didn't know so searched for 'cooking styles defined' and found a NYT quiz called 'What's Your Cooking Personality' (this is sure to work!?), anyhow my answers were all over the place but most heavily pointed to "methodical". To paraphrase, "talented cooks who rely heavily on recipes.... has refined tastes and manners.... creations always look exactly like the picture in the cookbook."
My husband and I do rely heavily on recipes, we have good enough taste and manners and while we try to match the photo we rarely do. We do like to try new recipes, aren't afraid to do so with friends or family and like to eat and drink as well as we can.
8. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Don't touch your face/eyes after cutting up a hot chili (or use gloves), fresh ingredients do make a difference, cooking something you grew yourself is extremely rewarding, cooking with someone you love is fun too.
9. What are you cooking this week?
Dutch baby, roasted cauliflower pizza, mushroom barley soup, lamb keema.
• Visit Jennifer's Architecture Firm: scott|edwards architecture, llp
• Stove: KitchenAid
• Dishwasher: Asko
• Cabinets: Kerf Design
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Submit your kitchen here.