The Joy of Cooking, Together

This reinvented kitchen includes custom features for five cooks and is decorated with a pop of red.An old adage warns about having too many cooks in the kitchen, but in the Hornung household in Brookline, the more cooks, the merrier.Two years ago when Janyne and Scott Hornung decided to renovate their tiny, galley-style kitchen, they made sure they had room for all the cooks in the family-including daughter Mikaela and Janyne’s parents, Joseph and Ruth Bodycott, who live with them. Joe does a lot of cooking for the family, and he and Ruth, an artist, both provided important input into the renovation plan.”The breezeway was bigger than our kitchen,” says Janyne, describing the former cramped space. For a time, the family thought about moving to a new home in Hollis. Instead, they decided to transform their family room-a large space they created with a previous addition-into the larger kitchen.After the kitchen renovation, completed just after Christmas 2009, the space went from the size of a long, thin closet to a spacious eight-hundred-square-foot kitchen with space for five cooks and seating for sixteen. That old tiny kitchen space is now a walk-in pantry. Janyne says she wanted to make sure there was space for entertaining as well as to prepare freezer meals in advance for students involved in her daughter’s school mission trips.The spacious, function-filled design is the product of teamwork between the homeowners, Mikaela who is studying interior design, and Senior Designer Jackie Smith of Dream Kitchens in Nashua.”It was a fun design project. Jackie allowed us to work as a team and mentored Mikaela,” Janyne says.Working with Smith, the homeowners chose soothing earth tones: a creamy off-white and espresso brown for the cabinetry; chocolate browns for accent walls; and granite countertops in two patterns, “Black Pearl” granite for a center island with a circular counter, and a “St. Cecelia Light,” cream, gold and black for workspace countertops at the room’s perimeter. To add a pop of unexpected color, Smith, Janyne, Mikaela and Ruth chose pendant lighting in reddish/orange glass.”We were looking for something to bring in a pop of red,” Smith says. “The homeowners found the red lights locally and asked, ‘Can we use them?’ I loved them. They bring such a cool spark into the room, and are so artistic.”Plenty of recessed lighting was installed in the ceiling, and under-cabinet lighting was used to illuminate the work surfaces.”The colors we used are different, but still very homey and comfortable,” Janyne says. “Adding the red lighting popped nicely as a contrast color.”The cabinetry hardware was installed horizontally. “It really brings your eye around the kitchen,” Smith says.Custom featuresReinventing a kitchen space for the whole family takes inspiration and planning. With a solid idea of style preferences and a wish list of features, family members sat down with Smith at their old kitchen table and brainstormed.”There were, at that time, five cooks in the kitchen-this wasn’t a regular household with just one or two cooks,” Smith says. “It was really important that everyone had a space to work in.”Special features include separate drawers for family members’ laptops, cabinets designed for vertical storage for pots and pans, and a multiple shallow drawer unit to store Ruth’s art and matting supplies. Pull-out drawers within easy reach keep track of spices-all organized in alphabetical order.Shallow base cabinetry was designed to store small appliances and keep accessories tucked away.”We tend to be minimalist,” Janyne says. “We don’t like a lot of stuff on the counters.”One other unique element is the tin ceiling sheet retrofitted for the stove backsplash, which ties with the stainless-steel appliances. For flooring, the family chose eight-inch, wide-plank cork with an espresso-colored stain.”We’re enjoying the floor. It’s softer on the feet than ceramic tile,” Janyne says.Since the renovation, cooking and entertaining in the kitchen is a pleasure for all the cooks and their guests, Janyne says.”It’s just a pleasure that everything now has a place and is easy to get to,” Janyne says. “It’s a real joy to cook our food together and have a space where we can be social with our guests.”