If You Can Take the Heat

The Coral Gables Community Foundation’s 10th Annual Tour of Kitchens Fires Up

By Lizzie Wilcox

March 2019

Do you ever drive past a house and wonder what it looks like inside? In particular, did you ever wonder what the kitchen looks like? If your response is no, you’re lying. The kitchen is the heart of every home, where the family comes together and enjoys many of its happiest moments. So why not peek at another kitchen besides your own, just to take notes? And in a city like Coral Gables, where home decorating is as much an obsession as it is an art, what other people’s kitchens look like is a major curiosity.

With that in mind, the Coral Gables Community Foundation puts on an annual Tour of Kitchens. It is a signature fundraising event for the founda- tion, and this year’s Tour was a blockbuster. “This year was amazing,” says Venny Torre, the chairman of the Tour this year. “We increased revenue by 30 to 40 percent, and we broke $100,000. More than 700 tickets were sold.” Compare that to the rst tour in 2004, which sold 150 tickets. “This year’s was the most successful tour to date, and obviously the most fun.”

Beginning at the Infiniti showroom on South Le Jeune, where bagels, fruit, coffee and mimosas were served, the tour passed through nine kitchens, from Gables Estates to Granada Boulevard. Ticket holders moved from house to house in their own cars, by bicycle or by limo – if you paid for the VIP passes – from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Besides the homes, you could also stop at the Miele appliance store on Ponce de Leon; the event ended at Ferguson’s Appliances, also on Ponce.

Here is your peek at four of the kitchens, with their owners.

7120 Mira Flores

The home at 7120 Mira Flores is inside the Cocoplum neighborhood. Owner Patricia de Anda, an interior designer, played a big role in the renovation. The entire house took two years to be reconstructed, with the kitchen taking six months.

“The kitchen is all wrapped in molding,” de Anda says. “All the moldings, everything, was custom made.”

One of the first things you notice when you walk into the kitchen is the massive double-door refrigerator and freezer. “It looks bigger than what it really is, but I cannot complain,” de Anda laughs.

The fridge, however, isn’t her favorite aspect of the room. What captures her heart?

“The island, for sure,” she says. What makes it stand out is the built-in stove. Though worth it in the end, it turned out to be a bigger project than de Anda expected, as they had to make sure it could be ventilated. This was accomplished by a built-in panel vent that rises from the island surface when cooking commences.

6854-6847 Granada Boulevard

For this home, two addresses joined forces to create one property on the Gables Waterway. The bigger home is the main house; the smaller one serves as guest house – or party house, depending. “It was meant to bring the kids back from college,” says owner Stacy Bolduc. “We have lots of spring breakers every year.”

Bolduc never considered being a part of the Tour of Kitchens until last December when she hosted an event. Among the attendees was Mary Snow, the Community Founda- tion’s executive director. “Mary Snow walked in and said, ‘Oh my gosh I want this kitchen.’ I thought she was teasing me,” Bolduc says.

Snow’s envy is understood once you enter the vintage-feel- ing room. With an electric blue stove and matching oven, complimented by a blue tile backsplash, you’re transported to a time before interior design focused on being sleek, modern and white.

“It just makes me happy,” says Bolduc of her kitchen. “A lot of fun memories have gone on in that room.”

1822 Country Club Prado

Ray Corral’s home is also a party house of sorts. With a sound system throughout, and a kitchen island that was turned into a bar, he created “a home that we don’t want to leave.”

Corral bought the Country Club Prado address in July and moved in at the end of October. While most of the house was still under construction upon move-in, the kitchen was left intact, with minor adjustments to his liking.

“If you look at the kitchen, it’s very detailed and it’s very well done, not only to feel comfortable, but also to entertain people,” Corral said. “It’s about music, it’s about family and it’s about friends.”

It’s apparent that the bar is the focal point of the room. Equipped with adjustable stools, the bar steals the show from the circular kitchen table.

“That’s where all the people sit, stand, drink, and eat,” Corral says. “Everyone eventually ends up in the pool, but [the night] starts in the kitchen.”

1400 S. Greenway Drive

This residence felt more like a European castle than a private home, with fountains at the front entrance and courtyards with ponds of colorful fish.

“In our free time we love to travel the world and not only our kitchen, but our entire home, is a curated collection of our travels,” says Matthew Mee- han, one of the homeowners.

Meehan and husband Rod Hildenbrandt are both Francophiles, reflected by the French elements in the kitchen. The French oak for the kitchen floors was imported from France, for example, every piece hewn by hand on site.

“It was a painstaking labor of love,” says Meehan, a long-standing board of directors member of the Community Foundation.

“For me, there are two important things in life,” Meehan says. “And that’s food and education,” referring to how Tour proceeds provide scholarships to the Culinary Arts Program at Coral Gables High School. “This covers both right there.”