Our kitchen was straight out of the 1970s, so in 2001, we decided it was time to remodel. My husband, Chuck, and I not only wanted to update the room but also make it more family friendly for our children—Elizabeth, 19; Anne, 18; Chase, 15; and Christian, 13.

Although we hired a company to handle the remodel, we remained very involved. In fact, Chuck, a real estate investor, demolished the old kitchen himself.

Since the original eating area was separated from the kitchen by a door, we knew that would have to go. We took out a few walls and everything just opened up.

We were careful, though, to create a space that was in keeping with the rest of our formal, traditional home. So we kept the white woodwork, and chose granite countertops and cherry cabinets and flooring.

Because we entertain a lot, function was important as well. If a big get-together is being planned, I'm always the first to offer our house. We host an annual Christmas party. And our yard, with a pool and mature shade trees, is ideal for summer parties. The open-concept kitchen really helps, as do the two sinks, two ovens and a center island that's great for serving food buffet-style.

My favorite appliance is our side-by-side refrigerator. It's wide and shallow, so I can see everything that's inside.

Though our kids are getting older, our family is still expanding. We are hosting our second German exchange student. Everyone in the family agrees that this is a wonderful experience for us; in fact, we couldn't think of a reason not to!

From hosting parties and visiting with friends to simply enjoying meals with our kids, this warm and functional kitchen really gets a workout.






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