Is the Kitchen the Center of the Home? These Homeowners Believe It
Each year the Coral Gables Community Foundation opens the homes of civic minded citizens with splendid kitchens for their annual Tour of Kitchens. This year, the 11th tour, was the most successful to date, raising money for charities from ticket sales to more than 600 kitchen voyeurs who drove or biked around the city to visit nine homes. Proceeds benefit the Foundation and its Culinary Arts Fund, which supports the Culinary Arts Program at Coral Gables Senior High School.
The kitchen of Bob and Ashley Thornburg, in their 1958 home on Orduna Drive, is characterized by two different islands, both highly functional. Each island has its own sink: the 16-foot island is for food preparation and eating, while the 11-foot island allows for food plating and buffet service. The dark, contrasting colors of the cabinets are Sherwin Williams “Snowbound” and Benjamin Moore “Racoon Fur.” The kitchen appliances were procured from House of Appliances in Coral Gables, and consist of Sub-Zero refrigerator “columns,” a Best “Potenza” exhaust hood, Bosch dishwashers and a Wolf range.
The tour began at the INFINITI showroom on Le Jeune Road, and ended with a closing event at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery on Ponce de Leon Boulevard. Along the way, local restaurateurs such as Someone’s Son, Salumeria 104 and La Taberna Giralda served bites at each home, with an en route stop at the Miele showroom on Ponce for pan con lechon sandwiches, prosecco and espresso. What follows are a selection of five of the kitchens on display.
The kitchen was designed by Patricia Calasich, designer-in-chief of KasaMia Interiors, an interior design firm specializing in the design of Forever Homes in Coral Gables. The cabinets were designed by KasaMia, and fabricated by Davila Woodwork, Inc. The plumbing fixtures are Kingston Brass with a polished nickel finish. The hanging light fixtures are Dalston Hanging Shade pendants from Circa Lighting.
This kitchen is in the Chinese Village home of Stephen Dull and Cole Jenkins, in one of the seven “villages” created by Coral Gables founder George Merrick in 1925. It is one of eight homes in the Chinese Village on Riviera Drive, designed by architect Henry Killam Murphy. The exteriors of the homes are embellished with brilliant colors reflecting the Chinese palette; the kitchen windows are original, restored and refreshed to their original red paint.
The cabinets in the kitchen and butler’s pantry are from Snaidero and are painted with a Reflect White finish. Appliances are a Wolf gas range and a full suite of Miele appliances, including a “Decora” stainless steel exhaust hood, a Speed Oven, and two dishwashers. The countertop material is cotton white honed granite from Keys Granite. The backsplash is Pratt & Larson handmade and hand-painted tiles based on a 17th century design from China. The “Brighton Pagoda” lantern is from Circa Lighting. The entire kitchen and butler’s pantry were redesigned by Herbert Brito of Brito Design Studio, LLC.
The landmark home of Robert and Aida Briele on Anastasia Avenue was built in the Mediterranean Revival style in 1924. It was one of the first designed in the Gables by the architectural firm of Keihnel and Elliot, whose other local commissions include the Coral Gables Congregational Church and Coral Gables Elementary School.
The kitchen layout offers a functional configuration with a central island topped by a quartzite countertop, which is also used along the perimeter surfaces and backsplashes. The European-styled cabinets, glass and wood, are finished in Benjamin Moore “Decorator’s White” paint. The appliances consist of a Thermador column refrigerator and freezer, a Wolf five-burner stainless steel range, a Wolf double burner induction cooktop, a Faber concealed exhaust hood, and a Thermador fully integrated wine refrigerator. The flooring is of white oak planks; the three square lanterns above the island are black framed with polished nickel lighting inserts.
On the Waterway
The 1953 Granada Boulevard home of Julio and Myriam Ramirez, situated on the Gables Waterway, was renovated and expanded by Myriam’s father, architect Aramis “Mitch” Alvarez. His aim was to maximize views and remove barriers between the interior and exterior. The kitchen is configured to allow easy access to the dining room, family room and breakfast area.The flooring consists of wide-plank European white oak.
The kitchen cabinets were fabricated and installed by La Aurora Custom Woodwork, Inc., and are made from white oak with copper pulls as embellishments. The countertops and backsplashes are Calacatta Paonazzo marble. The appliances are state-of- the-art technology, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer with French door access, a Wolf induction cooktop, a Faber stainless steel exhaust hood, a Wolf steam oven and two Miele dishwashers. The plumbing fixtures are Newport Brass in an antique finish. The ceramic light fixtures above the island were custom made by a New Orleans artist; the stools are Ethnicraft.
Java Head Revisited
The highlight of the tour was the kitchen at Java Head, a unique 3.5-acre compound on Edgewater Drive. The home of Luis and Sandra Perez, this 1936 Art Moderne landmark is based on a design by architect Robert Fitch Smith. It connects to the Gables Waterway via a coral stone dock with fountains. Java Head was commissioned by Charles H. Baker, Jr., a bon vivant writer, and his wife, Pauline Paulsen, heiress to a large silver mine fortune.
The kitchen is actually a double kitchen, with Shaker-style cabinetry in white, embellished by countertop surfaces in green soapstone. Among the appliances found in the main and secondary kitchen are two Lacanche ranges, RangeCraft exhaust hoods, Sub-Zero refrigerator, freezer and refrigerated drawers, a Wolf microwave oven and three Miele dishwashers. The plumbing fixtures include Nature Trail hand-hammered copper sinks with Grohe faucets. Hanging racks hold copper pots and pans, with custom-designed pendant lights above the working surfaces.