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Flair To Spare


Posted on June 2, 2015

Who says you can't bring big-city style to big-pine country?

Photography by PhotographerLink

”Wow. Just wow. That’s what you think when you look at Nanci Truex and Tom Massie’s kitchen and family room today. It’s hard to imagine that the space has a ho-hum past. But it does. Back in 2013 when the couple moved into the Colfax home, there was nondescript floor tile from entry to back wall. The family room fireplace, which should have been a focal point, was buried in dark wood shelving. The kitchen was a mixed bag of issues, mostly bad. Nanci remembers it was OK in the looks department, but when it came to cooking, it rated zero. “There was no counter space,” she says, “and the refrigerator was too close to the island. When you had the refrigerator door open, you could not get through, and when I pulled things out, I had no place to set them down.” And good luck to anybody who wanted to help Nanci at mealtime. There was no room for them to work. Funny, because square footage wasn’t an issue. “The space was all here; it just wasn’t being used correctly,” says Nar Bustamante of Nar Fine Carpentry, the custom design/build company that took on the redesign and renovation project. “The family room, which is awesome now, turned out to be one of my favorite projects,” he says. “That fireplace wall? It’s out of this world.” Nanci’s happy. “When I walked into Nar’s showroom (in El Dorado Hills) I said, ‘When I redo my kitchen, this is what I want.’”A good-looking kitchen that works: Nanci and Tom have a huge vegetable garden, and they need a kitchen that can handle a bumper crop of tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash, you name it. “I like to make my own . . . everything,” Nanci says. “I like homemade. We like to grow a lot and then freeze it. When I’m ready to make any type of tomato sauce, I just grab what I need, defrost it and I’m ready to go. Once you have homemade, you just can’t have the canned stuff anymore.” That meant a complete reconfiguration of the work triangle (no more squeezing by the refrigerator door), lots more storage (pullouts and vertical sections for platters and cookie sheets), an island for gathering, prepping and dining, task-oriented lighting and accessible electrical outlets. (There’s a socket on each side of the cooktop and in the lighted seating area. Brilliant.)

A good-looking kitchen that works: Nanci and Tom have a huge vegetable garden, and they need a kitchen that can handle a bumper crop of tomatoes, onions, peppers, squash, you name it. “I like to make my own . . . everything,” Nanci says. “I like homemade. We like to grow a lot and then freeze it. When I’m ready to make any type of tomato sauce, I just grab what I need, defrost it and I’m ready to go. Once you have homemade, you just can’t have the canned stuff anymore.” That meant a complete reconfiguration of the work triangle (no more squeezing by the refrigerator door), lots more storage (pullouts and vertical sections for platters and cookie sheets), an island for gathering, prepping and dining, task-oriented lighting and accessible electrical outlets. (There’s a socket on each side of the cooktop and in the lighted seating area. Brilliant.)

Twofer: The kitchen has a conventional oven, but Nanci loves the Miele Speed Oven, a convection oven/microwave combination. “There’s a lot going on with this oven,” says Oliver Aden. “It gives people a secondary oven without having a big double oven, which is often a design problem. If people want a warming drawer, a double oven and a microwave, we can’t get that all in one cabinet. By the time we’re done, the microwave is so high, it’s not convenient, so we need another cabinet for that.” Here’s the sweet part. The Speed Oven’s “MasterChef” function is like a preset-menu system. Basically, the display will ask you: What are you cooking? How do you want it done? When do you want to eat? “The oven will select the cooking mode and temperature and time,” Oliver says. “It’s quite amazing.” (You may want this.)

Symmetry: “Clutter doesn’t make a kitchen more exciting,” Nar says. “What we are always trying to do is take away things that detract. That’s what makes for good design.”

Cookies, fresh and hot, on demand: Nanci shares her secret. “I make a batch, roll (the dough) into little balls and freeze them overnight. The next day, I put them in Ziploc bags, and at night I’ll ask Tom how many cookies he wants. Then I pick out as many as I want, and we always have fresh, hot cookies.” Which are her favorite: chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter? “Yes,” she says.

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