Farm (to Kitchen) to Table
I am a backyard farmer, having grown up in the ‘70s when COOPs and composting was not a fad. It was just ... a way of life. For me, Farm-to-Table has always been a concept that just feels right. I love to garden, and I love to cook.
But if you are someone who cooks from a backyard garden, then you know that this isn't necessarily the quickest and easiest way to feed your family. We know what processed food does to our bodies, and we know the impact that fresh produce has on our health, Everyone would cook fresh food all the time if it was an easy thing to do.
Great interior design can make it easier and quicker to create garden-fresh meals for your family. And since we seem to have a few warm days peaking through to remind us that Spring is just around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to share a bit about how I design kitchens with the home chef and backyard farmer in mind.
As a home cook myself, I understand the joy and the juggling involved, how a carefully nurtured French green bean doesn't just blanch and sauté itself to become Haricots Verts. There's the planting and the pruning, the washing and the peeling and the prep, and the cooking and the plating and the serving. But wait, there's more! Nowadays, cooking in the kitchen may involve an audience. The kitchen is now the center of the home, where the good, the bad, and the ugly all take place.
Creatures large, small and furry may want to surround you, whether you're cooking like Julia Child or just trying to get the kids to eat real food. The chatting, mingling and refereeing can be a huge distraction from the task at hand. My passion is to make your kitchen work so seamlessly that you can do a few other things at once without becoming overwhelmed. The design, layout and setup of your kitchen is pivotal.
To examine whether your kitchen is working for you, take a moment to ask yourself: Do you have the perfect number of stools for your spectators, or is someone always standing uncomfortably? Is the dog bowl out in the middle of the floor where someone can trip or is it tucked elegantly into a little puppy nook? Are your measuring spoons and cups in the place where you reach expecting to find them, or do you have you put out an all-points-bulletin for these tools? Are your scraps dispensed of easily via the hole in the cutting board or do you have to spend your valuable time gathering them and transferring them to a compost crock on the other side of the room? If you spill a bit on the way, is a dustpan nearby? Is there a "mission control" station that reminds you when it's a day to pack your child's lunch, so you can multitask? Does your child love to help? If so, would your budding chef be happier with his or her own little "Master Chef Junior" space? Do you look around and see inspiration, or do you see piles of obligation?
One of my biggest passions (and the very essence of why I love what I do) is to transform kitchens into spaces of harmony. It's the nexus of your home, and if you can make that space harmonious, you'll feel more present and in control of life. Everyone's definition of harmony is different, and everyone's kitchen should reflect those differences.
We all want to create that perfect family dinner experience or weekend breakfast, that at-home version of Farm to Table. It’s about defining layouts that make it painless to wash those carrots and then peel them, compost the remnants as you begin to sauté garlic and olive oil in an awaiting pan … all while glancing at the calendar to remember what time you need to pick up one child or being able to catch your favorite show on TV or have that conference call after you've let out the dog. Creating these seamless spaces tailored to individuals is an art form, one that I've spent the last two decades working on. This is why it's essential for me to get to know my clients, their hobbies and their joys, so that I can help their kitchen work for them (as opposed to them working for their kitchen, as is often the case before I begin a project!). Everything from your height to your habits might figure into the perfect space plan and designs. As I'm traveling in France or London, scouring the finest markets for the rarest finds, I picture my clients and projects, and all of those individual needs and nuances that can be fulfilled by great, timeless design.
It's so rewarding to watch those spaces draw families together: to help them gather and break bread … to go from Farm, To Kitchen, To Table.
Here is some personalized kitchen inspiration by Kathy Marshall Design:
This Colonial-Era home in Bedford was brought back to its former luster with an open concept kitchen that also met the owners' need for a closed-off area, which is covered by reclaimed wood doors.
When you're the only coffee drinker and you want it quickly,
a nook for the Keurig' may be just what you need.
You don't have time to hunt for the right sized baking sheet or cutting board. Creating spaces for your go-to gear means one less thing to think about, so you can focus on more important stuff.
Elegant hooks provide a place for aprons or jackets if you're zipping out straight after breakfast in the morning. And that concealed pantry has a drawer that is the perfect size for each child's favorite cereal. Grab a tray from the built-in and gather all the items you need for one efficient trip.
It's pasta night! Always nice when the spaghetti pot lives right next to the colander,
so you can pull out both at once.
The kids can catch the score of the game when they get home, or chat with mom about their day over milk and cookies before heading off for homework time.
Busy lives require a solid command center to track appointments and leave messages.
A child-focused baking nook is a great way to encourage a fun hobby. Each budding chef has her own drawer of tools and a space for prep work and cook books.