Out of all the entries for our Dream Kitchen contest, Tonya and Gene Branham's beautiful kitchen
was one of just four prize-winners. Our judges loved the gorgeous functionality as well as the homey feel,
courtesy of Gene's cabinet-making skills. The unique use of storage space and the overall look of this
cozy family kitchen also impressed our panel.
The Branhams' 2-year-old house centers around the spacious kitchen. Tonya, who's a canning
aficionado, wanted to design the room to meet both her family's needs and her own.
"We wanted an open concept with lots of storage for my cookbooks and canning goods," she
says. "Plus, I wanted modern appliances—a six-burner range, a pot filler and a double convection
Even though Tonya works as a lunchroom director at her children's school, during the summer, her
full-time job is canning. "I can fruits and veggies from our huge garden, and help my mom can the
bounty from hers," she says. "Canning is so simple in my kitchen. The farmhouse sink is great
for cleaning and prepping produce."
The gas cooktop allows her to carefully control the temperature in the canner, important for sealing
the jars properly. The large island allows room for Tonya's mom and kids—Allen, 14; Andrew, 11; and
Anna Grace, 7—to help.
The cabinets provide the crowning touch for this kitchen. Gene, a firefighter, not only designed the
alderwood cupboards, he built and installed them, too. To add to their elegance, he coated them in cherry
stain with a black glaze. He also installed a slate backsplash.
Tonya was thrilled to learn her kitchen was one of our winners.
"I knew my kitchen was awesome, and I'm proud that others feel that way too," she says. "My mother-in-law always said it belonged in a magazine, and now it is!"
Download the Floor Plan of Tonya & Gene Branham's Kitchen »
Photo Gallery of Tonya and Gene Branham's Kitchen »
Tonya's Favorite Recipe: Homemade Canned Spaghetti Sauce »
Dream Kitchen Contest Winners »