Sophie and Michael live in an eclectically decorated brownstone in Brooklyn. Their kitchen, like much of their home, is full of a lot of "great deals." They have a keen eye and seem to be, often, in the right place at the right time. Almost everything in their kitchen was found on sale — often in the 'discontinued' pile!
When Sophie and Michael embarked on renovating what was once a rooming house, they decided to implement the biggest changes to the ground floor. They ripped out many walls to create a large open space for the kitchen, dining room, and living room and to expose the staircase. They also lived on site throughout the renovation, which meant that for eight months they lived in a house with two kids and no kitchen!
Sophie knew she wanted pretty rugged materials throughout and a practical kitchen easy to use for the adults as well as the children. Of course, practical doesn't mean banal. The pottery, the fun tableware, the flowers, and the art sprinkled throughout makes it as much fun to cook here as it is to just look around.
The most remarkable thing about the kitchen, though, is how each element came about. While on one of their many family trips to IKEA, they noticed a solid oak kitchen on display, discontinued and on sale. They got the sale discount and the discontinued discount and walked home with a complete solid oak kitchen for $700.
On another shopping venture, this time to an appliance store, the fridge — a huge sub zero sort — happened to be a discontinued model and Sophie bought it for a song. It might be said that Sophie is not that picky when it comes to putting together a kitchen. Her priority has always been getting it up and running and staying on budget.
The couple's previous home was a loft space with a lot of open shelving. In addition to appreciating a use for enclosed bedrooms and the like, Sophie realized that putting things behind closed cabinets had its perks. In fact, now the microwave sits in one cabinet below the center island, and the toaster sits behind another cabinet door in the corner of the kitchen next to the coffee maker (which made the cut for being on display).
10 Questions for Sophie and Michael (and Their Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
Sunny, inviting, fresh local organic ingredients. Simple.
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
A really good sharp knife.
3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Recently, I made the absolute worst dinner for 16 people. I tried an asparagus risotto. It looked like prison food and tasted like it was made with elmer's glue.
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
To keep the basil alive…
5. What is your favorite cookbook?
I don't have one, but I love when a cookbook has a picture with every recipe.
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
We always have champagne. It just goes with everything and we always have something to celebrate!
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
It would be great if it could clean itself and make coffee.
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
I really don't have a style. Many of my friends are great cooks. I do the groceries, and I am in charge of the music and the wine. They cook in my kitchen. I love it.
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Follow the recipe! When I get too cocky and start experimenting, we end up ordering pizza.
10. What are you cooking this week?
We eat rather simple food, fresh and in season. I don't plan ahead even though it sounds like a great idea.
Resources of Note:
Most of the kitchen is IKEA, oak cabinet, oven, dishwasher, island, sinks.
(Images: Jill Slater)