When Glenn and Paula Foore decided to start a small community garden in their East Austin back yard, little did they know that within one short year it would manifest itself fully as Springdale Farm, a small yet vibrant urban farm taking up less than 5 acres just 3 miles east from the state Capitol in Austin, Texas. Just as unexpectedly, their kitchen became a place for passionate chefs — to whom the farm now supplied farm-to-table offerings — to transform fresh ingredients into healthy meals. At Apartment Therapy last week we toured this couple's beautiful pier-and-beam style farmhouse, and today we'll get a closer look at the very heart and soul of their home: the cozy kitchen.
The classic look and feel of the kitchen has a way of making you feel at home, and the size is neither too large for a private meal nor too small for a community event. The 1950s Chambers stove (original to the home) provides the kitchen with an everlasting charm. And the lovely pale green hue of the kitchen cabinets? The color was inspired by the farm's Araucana chicken eggs.
The kitchen also packs in a few clever organization tricks, like the narrow pull-out spice drawer, the behind-the-door pantry storage, and a corner cabinet Lazy Susan. A built-in checkerboard butcher block is the primary preparation surface, and a knife block crafted from the same reclaimed pine of the hardwood floors houses the essential tools.
You'll spot cans full of home-ground spice mixes and pickled vegetables (preserved from the season's harvest) colorfully arranged in the space and on the plates of their meals. There's plenty of outdoor seating as well if the billowing smoke from a smoker crafted by Glenn's father beckons a few unexpected visitors for dinner.
Glenn and Paula try to take everything that comes at them in life all in stride, one day at a time. It's a philosophy that serves itself not only in the kitchen, but out on the farm, and it's certainly what has guided this kitchen to become a place that nourishes not only themselves, but the local community.
10 Questions for Paula and Glenn (and Their Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
When we started farming, we would bring home farm fresh vegetables by the bushels. We learned to prepare them in simple ways that let the freshness speak for themselves. I think there is nothing more beautiful than a just picked eggplant, or beet, or red onion. We get those vegetables spread out all over the counters and fill up the kitchen. Kitchen space was a must have for us. We opted out of a dining room, incorporated lots of countertop space, and installed two sinks; one for prep and one for cleanup. Plus we both like to cook, so we wanted room for us, too!
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
We use the built-in butcher block for every meal.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Well, I have to say, being in the food industry exposes us to some amazing chefs. Our most memorable meals here have been things that real chefs have prepared. One that stands out in my mind was right after we moved in. The then-executive chef of the East Side Show Room came and prepared a personal five course meal, one course being homemade ravioli. There was flour everywhere! It was an amazing dinner, and the kitchen stood up to the test!
4. The biggest challenge for cooking in your kitchen:
The 1950s oven is a little quirky. But we love it.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
We wish you could test out faucets before you install them. Not possible, but we might have picked different faucets.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen?
It would definitely have been the soapstone counter tops. Our designer found them for an amazing deal here in town.
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
Right now it's all working for us.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Use herbs! Mix and match and experiment.
10. What are you cooking this week?
Lettuce has just come in season. We are having a big salad tonight with lots of colors of fresh lettuce (and leftover Richardson Farms grilled steak...yum). Later in the week I (Paula) will fix my mother's Hamburger Soup recipe — except we use ground venison.
→ Visit Glenn and Paula's website and farm: Springdale Farm Austin
• Stove: Chambers, circa 1953
• Hood: custom by local artisan Carlo Niece
• Fridge: KitchenAid
• Dishwasher: Bosch
• Microwave: Sharp Drawer
• Cabinets: Local Austin craftsman
• Flooring: Reclaimed pine
• Paint colors: Walls are Benjamin Moore Pure White, Lower cabinets are colored after Auracana chicken eggs
• Countertop material: Soapstone, sueded
• Vintage lights: Star Antiques, Wimberly, TX
• Chandelier: Pottery Barn
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Show us your kitchen here!
(Images: Chris Perez)