Life Central - 405 Magazine

Life Central

Good kitchens offer a convenient, functional space to cook; great kitchens do so while looking sensational and feeding the family’s spirit as well. Five of the area’s best are on the 2013 OCMA Kitchen Tour in Nichols Hills.

Many Spaces Within a House Have Names That Aren’t Hard to Parse:

The room with a bed in it is the bedroom, bathtubs go in bathrooms and if a home has a sewing room, that space probably doesn’t contain a piano or pool table. So why does the spot with
couches and a TV get the appellation “living room,” when so much life happens in the kitchen?

They are the beating hearts that sustain and power their homes, the engines that propel their families through whatever travails await … and in the case of these five beautifully equipped domestic gems, the places to find exquisite combinations of design, functionality and decorative style. The Oklahoma County Medical Alliance’s Kitchen Tour in Nichols Hills offers live cooking demonstrations from local guest chefs (including a doozy at Culinary Kitchen), question-and-answer sessions with certified kitchen designers at A Karen Black Company, luxury table settings and breathtaking floral designs – but most importantly, inspiration for living.


The massive ceiling beams in the remodeled and expanded kitchen, breakfast and family room of Cliff and Diane Stockton might be overwhelming in a smaller space – but here they look right at home in conjunction with the twin islands, each housing an oversized copper farm sink, gorgeously finished leathered granite countertops and ornate carvings on the corner supports. The glass doors to the partially enclosed outdoor living area help open the space up visually as well. The lanterns that hang above the islands are French, as is the plaster fireplace on the north wall – personal touches that, along
with the entire design and construction, come
courtesy of Anders and Terry Carlson with AC Dwellings.

 Keep an eye out for: The various decorative touches indicating Diane’s Francophilia – the railway signs, the canisters labeled “sucre” and “thé,” the Paris street scene painted by Antoine Blanchard, even a small Eiffel Tower sculpture near the stove.



 More counter space, more refrigeration, more storage for cooking accessories, double ovens, a beverage area for wine … this kitchen required an extensive renovation to meet the standards of homeowner (and avid cook) Dr. Terrie Gibson. Fortunately, Jennifer Machin and Leroy Estes from A Karen Black Company were up to the task, removing unnecessary decorative frills and consolidating space to produce a crisp, functional, practically perfect space.
White cabinets and tile backsplashes, honed granite counters
and a little sparkle from the pendant fixtures
create an ideal environment for cooking and entertaining.

Keep an eye out for: Visitors might not get to meet the resident dogs (though Hope is especially sweet), but Dr. Gibson’s enthusiasm for viniculture is clearly evident – a converted utility room in another part of the house is a supplementary wine storage area (including some bottles with her name on the label), and the glass vessels filled with corks make a cheerful
decorative statement of past enjoyments.



 Light is a key element in the brand-new but classically designed kitchen in Ken and Debbie McKinney‘s 1960s home – the wash of brightness from its southern windows enhances the cheerful colors of the blown-glass lights dangling over the sink (they’re from Murano, Italy), and lights inside the glass-fronted cabinets make dishes and glassware seem almost like museum displays. State-of-the-art appliances make cooking fast and easy, while the various built-in shelves and nooks (look to either side of the stove) keep essentials close at hand in eye-catching style. The space, including its
elevated ceiling, was built by Anders and Terry Carlson,
but Debbie richly deserves a co-credit for the design.

 Keep an eye out for: A combination of interests in the framed large-scale maps of the Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits, two sections of the Burgundy region of France
renowned for their sensational wines.



 Builder Bill Stubbs constructed this residence in 1957 for his family, which makes it especially apt that current owners Leslie and Rick Russell are family: Rick is Bill’s grandson, and spent his first night out of the hospital here. Rick, an experienced homebuilder himself, helped Leslie select design materials and finishes for their “modern ranch” home and kitchen and handled a renovation through Rick Russell Homes. The remodel emphasizes clean lines and a modern look, with a white color scheme and stainless steel accents for the room that serves as the calming center of life for their busy family of five.

 Keep an eye out for: Touches indicating that kids work in this kitchen too – the counters are durable, spill-resistant quartz, the island houses a pull-out stool (the better to climb up and help), treats are abundant and even some of the cookbooks are aimed at younger chefs. 


6721 AVONDALE DRIVE (not pictured)

This vintage home built in 1932 has just undergone a major renovation; while maintaining its vintage charm, it now reflects
the style of Jeff and Ashley Ritenour’s young family. The new open-concept kitchen’s central location gives it clean sightlines to practically all the interior and the beautiful park-like backyard.
Many of its cabinets hold more than shelving; one antique French door hides the refrigerator, while another provides access to the walk-in pantry. Those signature touches, along with other “modern
vintage” touches like the zinc-finished vent hood,
proclaim this to be an AC Dwellings gem.

Keep an eye out for: Everything! This remodel is so new that visitors on the Kitchen Tour will be among the first people to witness the results, so take a good look at the whole shebang.

Bon Appetit

The 2013 OCMA Kitchen Tour will be held Sunday, October 20, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Suzanne Reynolds is OCMA president, Amy Bankhead is president-elect and tour chairs are Karen Gunderson and Marni Sigmon.

Proceeds benefit the CARE (Child Abuse Response and Evaluation) Center and Health Alliance for the Uninsured.

Tickets are available for $20 at the door, or $15 in advance at these locations:

New Leaf Florist – 2500 N. May Avenue and 9221 N. Penn Place, Casady Square
On A Whim – 5850 N. Classen Boulevard, Classen Curve
Culinary Kitchen – 7222 N. Western Avenue
A Karen Black Company – 3013 N.W. 63rd Street
42nd Street Candy Company – 4200 N. Western Avenue