Bethia Woolf and Andy Dehus are some of the most curious and adventurous food-lovers that I know. This is fitting, as they own a company called Columbus Food Adventures, which runs food tours here in Columbus. (You can read more about how they started their business here.) But they don't just eat out at restaurants; they are avid and accomplished home cooks, too.
So when Bethia told me that their long-anticipated kitchen renovation was finally finished, I begged for a peek. Here's a look at their home kitchen and some of the smart decisions they made when renovating.
The Kitchen Renovation Story
Bethia and Andy moved into their 1890 Victorian home in mid-2013. The kitchen was cramped, closed off from the rest of the house, and not efficiently arranged. Renovating for family cooking — not to mention the the chef-led supper club parties they host — was a priority, and they started the process about six months after moving in. By July of last year, it was finished.
The major changes included opening up a larger doorway between the dining room and kitchen (but not too large — there's still a nice amount of separation), and building custom cabinets to fit the needs of the long and narrow space.
Working with custom cabinets and a thoughtful contractor allowed for lovely attention to detail, like the way the wood from their countertops was worked into a shelf on the backsplash and as detailing on a wall of cabinet fronts.
They also added smart functionality, like pull-out shelves for appliances and spices, and even a pull-out drying rack for towels.
I asked Bethia what her favorite thing is in the new kitchen. "It's hard to pick one," she said, "but certainly the increased storage, the space to cook comfortably with friends, and the improved flow between the kitchen and the dining room."
A Modern Kitchen for a Victorian Home
One of the things I admired most about this renovation was how it respected and honored the age and style of the house. The previous kitchen had been much less appropriate for the house — a classic case of bad remodeling.
Bethia explained how they restored the room to its original Victorian proportions. "We reclaimed a lot of ceiling height from the dropped ceiling in the old kitchen," she said. They also expanded the space with a small bump-out addition. "The increased size of the kitchen is far and away the most dramatic change," she told me. "We nearly doubled the square footage."
The renovated kitchen feels more natural to the flow and shape of the house, and it gently and subtly added modern fixtures and clean lines into an old home. It's not a period kitchen, but the tones and use of wood harmonize and echo the woodwork throughout the Victorian beauty.
Other details wink at the age of the house; Andy loves old-fashioned push-button light switches so those are used throughout the kitchen. It's a small period detail that blends with the high-tech aspect of their lights: the couple installed long-lasting LED bulbs that can be remotely controlled through an app on the phone. Bethia showed me how the lights can be raised or dimmed, and how they can even change color and temperature.
What Kind of Cooking Happens Here?
Bethia is originally from London, and between her taste for British comfort food and her present passion for exploring immigrant kitchens in Columbus, there's a lot of diverse cooking in this kitchen.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Wide ranging — everything from British comfort food to Chinese dumplings. We love to have friends over to cook with us, and enjoy exploring dishes from their various backgrounds.
What does a typical bag of groceries look like for you?
We like shop at a variety of farmers markets, ethnic markets and grocery stores but staples include seasonal fruits and vegetables, Snowville Creamery dairy products (milk, yoghurt), bacon and other smoked meats from Thurn's, and freshly baked bread, often from Dan the Baker or Eleni Christina. Andy's addicted to Smartfood popcorn, so that's a common one, too.
What are you cooking this weekend?
We're making Nobu's miso-marinated black cod for a Valentine's day dinner at home on Saturday, and on Sunday we're having friends over for Chinese hot pot.
Thanks so much, Andy and Bethia!
A selection of the resources used in Bethia and Andy's kitchen.
- David Long Builders - "We couldn't have been happier with him," says Bethia.
The cabinets were custom-built by their contractor.
- Cabinet Color: Sherwin-Williams 6165 Connected Gray (Glossy)
The countertops are a mix of stainless steel and walnut butcher block.
Bethia says: "The gas cooktop, oven, warming drawer, and dishwasher are Bosch. The refrigerator is KitchenAid. We did a lot of research online and also worked with HH Gregg Fine Lines. We chose based on a mixture of functionality, price and online reviews. We needed a fairly shallow refrigerator for the space and wanted French doors. We liked the KitchenAid because it has a flat shelf in the freezer that allows you to freeze things like berries on a sheet pan."
- Cooktop: Bosch (NGM8654UC)
- Hood: Faber Stilo
- Oven: Bosch (HBL875OUC)
- Warming Drawer: Bosch (HWD3050UC)
- Refrigerator: KitchenAid (KFCS22EVMS)
- Dishwasher: Bosch SHX68T55UC
- They also installed an instant hot water tap from Insinkerator and "absolutely love the convenience of it."