Shelby and Joe started a family in Portland, Oregon. They transformed an old Victorian house into a modern living space to accommodate kids and family fun. Where do they hang out the most? In their dreamy, spacious kitchen.
Shelby and Joe are both excellent cooks, turning out weeknight meals such as Thai quinoa salad and homemade pizza, so it's no accident they put so much effort into creating a functional, yet beautiful kitchen. The open floor plan of the downstairs allows the adults to be cooking, while the kids can play in the dining/living room and even in the backyard, all within view of mom and dad. Shelby even described the layout as a 'racetrack with the kitchen island in the center for the kids to run around.' Oh to have grown up in such a place!
One special part of the kitchen that first caught my eye is the back wall. It consists of simple floating shelves, sitting atop re-purposed, imperfect wooden slats. Where does this perfectly aged, distressed wood come from? The upstairs fir floor they tore down during their remodel. It's creative, eco-friendly and gorgeous.
10 Questions For Shelby & Joe (And Their Kitchen)
1. What's your cooking style?
Chaotic! A lot of the time, our whole family will be in the kitchen cooking together. Although it is more messy to cook with kids, it is no doubt more fun and also less predictable....
2. What inspires your kitchen?
Family — when we designed our kitchen, we were motivated to have a super functional and modern workspace with a lot of countertop, openness and light. A place where everyone could hang out and be together.
3. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
The enormous kitchen island (it is 7' x 5') — we can fit a dozen people around it for a party; the kids eat breakfast at it every morning and we can talk while I cook their steel oats!
4. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
"Honey, don't wash those mushrooms! They will lose their flavor spores."
5. Biggest challenge in your kitchen:
Keeping our miles of countertop clean!
6. Biggest indulgence:
The built-in Kenmore Pro Fridge. It was a huge splurge, but it seemed to be the only thing that really fit into the space and we couldn't resist the industrial feel of it and the gauges on the front.
7. Dream tool or splurge:
We splurged when we remodeled our kitchen and got a 6 burner 36" gas cooktop and then put in a separate wall oven — this is a complete cooking dream in terms of not having to bend down to put something in the oven and having the space to spread out on the cooktop.
8. What are you cooking this week?
Pulled pork in my pressure cooker, roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato fries AND chicken enchiladas with roasted veggies and Spanish rice.
9. What cookbook has inspired you the most?
We still love old-school Moosewoods and another more current favorite is Barefoot Contessa.
10. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
We had some friends over after we finished the remodel — 6 of us sat around the island while we cooked. We ate a big fat Greek meal of chicken gyros with tzatziki, Greek salad with feta and roasted potatoes.
• Visit Shelby's blog and photography portfolio: Shelby Brakken
• Ikea cabinets in high-gloss white
• Cork floor
• Chroma countertops in concrete
• Light fixtures (above the kitchen island) from West Elm
• Wood paneled wall made with remnants from our old upstairs fir floor. Panels were weathered, conditioned and clear coated then installed!
• Art on steel by Jeff Fontaine
• Kitchen design by Integrate Inc.
• Kenmore Pro cooktop
• IKEA wall oven
We're always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Submit your kitchen here.
Related: Bella Goes Healthy
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)