The kitchen is no longer everyone’s favorite room just because it’s where you go to get food; it’s also become one of the most stylized parts of any household. If you have a dated kitchen, you have a dated home.
In conjunction with Fort Worth Magazine and a Wish with Wings, the Kitchens Tour, which exhibits local chefs in a variety of luxurious kitchens across Fort Worth, is back for another year. The tour will take place Saturday, Nov. 17, in the city’s oldest neighborhood — Historic Ryan Place — as well as local retailer Mustard Seed Jewelry. All proceeds will go toward granting wishes for Texas children with life-threatening medical conditions. Here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect at this year’s tour.
THE TRAYLOR/WAWRZENIAK HOME
2501 Willing Ave.
Renn Traylor and Keith Wawrzeniak
The Traylor/Wawrzeniak kitchen used to be a crowded area of the house — finished with low-quality materials — instead of a central gathering space for dinners, relaxation and socialization. When designing their new kitchen, Renn and Keith agreed that functionality, storage and plenty of natural light were vital to make the space their own. Everything in the kitchen serves a purpose, but Renn’s favorite features are the open shelving and drawer units that exemplify functionality and storage. Also fulfilling artistic intentions, the kitchen embodies a “modern but timeless complement to our 1929 Craftsman bungalow,” Renn says.
On choosing how to start your own journey into designing, Renn advises, “If you have a ‘go-to’ color that you often wear and love, odds are you will love it in your kitchen, too.”
She attributes the decision to use and trust her love for a variety of colors, textures and finishes in the kitchen to its contemporary but comfortable design.
THE JOHNSTON HOME
2318 Fifth Ave.
Karly and Richard Johnston
Lamps, light fixtures, sunshine — Karly Johnston is all about brightening her living spaces up. Her kitchen is no different, so when it came time to personalize it, letting as much natural light in as possible was nonnegotiable. Johnston also drew inspiration from her neighbor’s kitchen, which is where the functional yet stylish design for her drawers came.
Johnston wanted a lively, bright kitchen, with the words “candy store” making an appearance while she talked about her vision for it. However, it’s her timeless greige cabinets that are a favorite.
“Try not to do anything too trendy,” she said. “Something really bold and fun gets old fast.”
Like plenty of other families, the Johnstons find that their kitchen is a place to let creative design loose but also a centerpiece for family and practicality.
“We love cooking and snacking because it’s an enjoyable place to be,” Johnston said. “I swear I was 5 pounds less when I had a frumpy kitchen and always wanted to get the hell out of there.”
THE PARHAM HOME
2516 Ryan Place Drive
Lin and Randy Parham
A kitchen is a place where “family discussions, life decisions, and memories” are made, according to the Parhams. It was important, then, to create a space up to the task of hosting these things. Besides that, the Parhams wanted to ensure their kitchen reflected its history as a home built in 1922 for oil millionaire Floyd J. Holmes. Design elements like hardwood floors, a farmhouse sink, and a carefully selected backsplash work together to pay homage to the house’s origins. Although every piece is symbiotic, Lin Parham notes that one standout is the Carrera Bella marble countertop that accents the kitchen with “movement and colors that is really quite stunning.”
The kitchen is not all historical, though — studded with appliances from Wolf, Sub-Zero, Asko and Kitchenaid, Lin says these fixtures are a modern convenience in the classic space. Finally, Lin encourages thoroughness.
“As you’re designing your kitchen plans, open every cabinet and drawer in your current kitchen,” she advises. “Can you visually place all your items in the new cabinets/drawers you are designing?”
And the next step? Measure everything you plan on putting in your cabinets, just to be certain it will have a place in your new kitchen.
The Wells Home
2423 College Ave.
Sunny and Kendall Wells
While the Wells were in the process of looking for houses, this kitchen triggered that special feeling when you know that a house can feel like a personal, cozy home. Because so many facets of the Wells’ life take place in their kitchen, a beautiful design was not the only thing on their mind. It had to be a hub for their family with a practical design that accommodated busy days, leisurely mornings, midnights snacks and holiday meals.
“Puzzles, laptops, gingerbread houses at Christmas, standing around the island with cheese and wine,” Sunny Wells muses. “We love to live in our kitchen.”
Soapstone countertops and a tasteful chandelier are some of Wells' favorite elements in the kitchen, but simple features that help foster family time like a spacious island and dining table make the room special. Some of her favorite memories are made in the kitchen, like teaching her son how to make French toast on their griddle. When choosing a kitchen, Wells says to ensure it fits with your lifestyle.
“Design trends come and go, but memories last a lifetime,” she says. “And definitely splurge on the warming drawer.”
The Papa Home
1001 Elizabeth Blvd.
Tracy and Frank Papa
History runs through the Papas’ kitchen, originally built in the 1920s. Whether it be the coal chute under the sink, a chimney that sits above their stove and oven, or an old doorbell notification system in the corner, the house’s past is at the forefront of presentation. Updated with new looks in 2009, Papa still has old, passed-down photos of the house that make her think about its history. There’s a rose bush and crepe myrtles outside of the kitchen window, maybe a relic of the house’s beginning or maybe a detail that tagged along at some point in the journey.
The Papas are making their own memories in their kitchen, though. With a large Italian family, Papa laughs and notes that a generous space with logical layout was a must. Among the family, she and two of her sons have been through culinary school, making choices about more practical items like appliances a serious process.
“Everybody has their specialty,” Papa says. “I do pastry, my oldest son grills, and my second oldest does pizza and pasta.”
While the Papas might love to tailor the kitchen to each specialty (Papa would like have a pizza oven someday, although that’s more of an outside installation), instead they work together and use the luxurious kitchen with a lot of Italian love.
by Sheila Ellis
photos by Olaf Growald