Inspiration > A Kitchen That Really Works

“Every cloud has a silver lining ,” the old adage goes, and in Patty Heath’s case, that lining is the stainless steel in her new kitchen appliances.

Three years ago, Heath, who lives in Bedford, was diagnosed with celiac disease—an autoimmune intestinal disorder that is characterized by a toxic reaction to gluten, a protein found in all forms of wheat as well as in rye and barley. After following a gluten-free diet, Heath’s migraines, joint pain and fatigue disappeared; she felt great but missed many of her favorite foods, including her mother’s carrot cake. So, she created a gluten-free recipe for it, using a combination of tapioca, potato starch and sweet rice flours.

People—including two of her neighbors who also have the disease—who tasted her cake told Heath it was good enough to sell. “Gluten-free cooking is the newest thing in the food industry because many more people are being diagnosed with celiac disease, and the only treatment is to strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet,” Heath explains. “It requires a real lifestyle change.”

Those who have celiac disease are genetically susceptible; Heath’s fourteen-year-old daughter was also diagnosed, giving Heath even more incentive to come up with new recipes. (Her nineteen-year-old daughter has tested negative for the disease.)

Heath experimented with recipes for sandwich bread, quick breads and cookies, and decided to test her products at the Bedford farmer’s market. She sold forty loaves of bread, twenty four bags of chocolate chip cookies, and all her banana and pumpkin bread in twenty minutes. Her business, No Wheat Kneaded, was born. But while she clearly had a great product, she needed more space in which to make it.

Home work

Rather than leasing a space and retrofitting it, Heath chose to make her home kitchen functional for both her family and her business. She and her husband had planned to renovate their 1979 brick Georgian home anyway, so they incorporated gutting the kitchen into the project.

The existing kitchen was a good size—approximately thirteen feet by twenty feet—so Heath didn’t need to increase the footprint. The challenge was to make the space efficient for baking large quantities of food while staying true to the traditional design of the home. For help, she turned to Mark Davis, owner of Not Just Kitchens in Bedford, and designer Kristen Drew- Furtney, who works for Davis. Davis had helped Heath with other renovation projects, and she had worked briefly for him in his showroom.

“Patty’s old kitchen didn’t have enough counter space, storage or seating,” Drew-Furtney says, “so we doubled the amount in her new kitchen by adding a small island and a stepped-up peninsula.”

Heath has a regular client base of about fifty customers, so she needed a lot of oven space but didn’t have room for commercial-grade appliances. She installed a thirty-six-inch range with an oven and a gas cooktop, as well as large, double wall ovens. Above her range, she added a stainless steel Zephyr hood. Because she has a refrigerator and freezer in her garage for her business, she only needed a regular-size refrigerator in her kitchen, which is primarily for family use. She uses two professionalgrade KitchenAid® mixers—“this truly is a home business, and I don’t have the storage space for those big Hobart® commercial mixers,” Heath says. Her Franke sink is commercial-grade stainless steel and has an extra deep bowl.

Cleanup considerations

Another major consideration for Heath was the ability to quickly clean up the new kitchen. “But I didn’t want it to feel sterile,” she says.

Heath initially wanted dark granite for her countertops. “The stone guys were great,” she says, “they said, ‘You’re a baker, you’re going to have flour all over the place, you’re crazy!’”

Taking their advice, Heath instead chose a handsome, cream-colored granite called Kashmir Ville, which has specks of gray and cranberry. In keeping with the traditional aesthetic of her home, she installed raised-panel cabinets in cherry; the stainless-steel hard-ware gives them a sleek, modern twist and is easy to clean. The cabinet moldings extend to the ceiling, so there isn’t any open space where dust can collect. The black granite tile backsplash adds the dark hues that Heath originally wanted in the countertops.

Linoleum would have been the most efficient choice for her floor, Drew- Furtney says. “With wood, if you get a spill or a leak, the wood expands, and you can have problems,” she says. “Linoleum is the easiest material to clean, because there’s no grout, but Patty wanted it to be beautiful and was willing to compromise some of the business aspects for personal taste.” Drew-Furtney and Davis installed a dark ceramic tile set on the diagonal in a dark grout.

Heath couldn’t be happier with the results of her renovation. “It really works perfectly,” she says. “When I’m baking, everything is a couple steps away, and the renovation has allowed me to get everything out faster—I’ve cut my cooking time in half. I also love the fact that at 8 a.m., it’s mayhem, but by late afternoon, I’m able to have the kitchen ready for my family. It’s such a pleasant space that we gather in here all the time.”