Inspiration > A Kitchen of His Own

As a commercial builder, Tim Long knows the ins and outs of construction. When he and his wife, Maggie, built their third home in 2006, he knew what he wanted–and how to build it.

“I’ve never wanted [another builder] to build my homes,” says Tim, executive vice president of Meridian Construction in Gilford. Accustomed to managing multimillion-dollar commercial building projects, Tim applied the same attention to detail when planning his Bedford home, particularly the kitchen. The Longs wanted their kitchen to be the social center for their family of four–with casual and formal dining, living and family areas easily accessible for entertaining.

The Longs worked with Laconia architect Peter Stewart of Stewart Associates Architects LLC to design their home. Starting with photos of existing homes that the Longs liked, Stewart developed an overall plan. However, when it came to determining the kitchen’s layout, Tim took the project into his hands. “We did a diagram of the kitchen and laid it out, but Tim did the detailing,” says Stewart.

“I spent a lot of hours thinking about what made sense,” Tim says. “Being a commercial contractor, I believe that [high-end] home construction is like a commercial job because of the complexities of infrastructure, like plumbing and different systems.”

An Island Focus

The Longs’ kitchen revolves around a large, African granite-topped island. The spacious, black-and-gold island has two functions: food preparation and eating space. Three padded bar stools at one end offer cozy seating for informal meals and provide the Longs’ two teenage children with space for homework or chatting with their parents. (Maggie, global director of quality for Osram Sylvania, travels frequently but she and Tim make it a priority to cook for the family when they’re home together.) A small sink opposite the sitting area allows for vegetables to be prepared separately from meat. An informal dining area off the kitchen offers additional dining options, and separates the kitchen from a spacious living room and entertainment area.

An arresting feature in the kitchen is the professional-grade stove, an Aga Legacy. Brick-red with six burners, the stove features four cooking compartments–including a convection broiler as well as a warming oven for baking breads and cookies (the Longs use a Thermador® built-in combo microwave and oven for most of their broiling and baking). Sliding shelves next to the stove keep spices in easy reach.

Above the stove is a custom-made commercial exhaust hood. “We have ten-foot ceilings, and I wanted something that would be the kitchen’s focal point,” Tim says. He worked with Lucien Soucy of GAM Woodwork to build the wooden hood and, to give it the appearance of stone, sealed the hood with auto-body bonder. This created a hard surface, impervious to steam and heat.

Modern Amenities

The countertop running along the kitchen wall offers plenty of room for food preparation. Pots and pans are contained in slide-out shelves underneath, and all drawers have anti-slam fixtures to prevent stuck fingers.

An appliance “garage” conveniently hides the coffee pot and other items typically cluttering countertops. Tim had outlets installed on the sides of the island so that appliance cords wouldn’t drag between the counter and the island. The Miele dishwasher also is located in the island, across from the larger kitchen sink, making it easy to do dishes. Other amenities include a wall-mounted, flatscreen TV and a music system, wired throughout the Longs’ house.

The kitchen and vegetable sinks are made of MoenStone, a granite composite material. The surface, created by Moen, withstands heat, cracking and staining. “You can drag pots and pans across the bottom, and it doesn’t scratch,” Tim says. “It’s extremely hard material and simulates stone.” Hot pots and pans can go directly from the stove into the sink, without damaging its surface.

The kitchen’s warm, neutral colors are reflected in the honey-colored custom cabinetry by KraftMaid® throughout the kitchen–even the Sub-Zero refrigerator is masked by a cabinet. One wall in the kitchen, lined with built-in cabinets and a smaller countertop, is curved. Instead of building curved cabinets, Tim used straight cabinet boxes, segmenting them and shaping the backs to fit the wall.

Lighting the Way

The kitchen’s warmth is reflected in its many windows, which let in natural light and enable the family to look outside to the back yard, which blooms with mountain laurels in the spring and is home to deer and fox in the winter. A smaller window, which opens onto the Longs’ screened porch, stays open during outdoor entertaining to pass food back and forth.

With his Bedford home complete, Tim plans to move his business into residential construction. “Many of the tradespeople who worked on my house asked, ‘Why aren’t you doing this?’” says Tim. “I thought then perhaps I should tap into this market.” In the meantime, the Longs are enjoying their home, particularly their familyfriendly kitchen.