Design & Home

The Kitchens of These 3 Local Foodies Will Fill You With Envy

Three devoted foodies offer a look inside the most important room in their homes.
The Kitchens of These 3 Local Foodies Will Fill You With Envy
Sidra Forman uses the butcher-block island as a dedicated prep space for her catering business. Photograph by Christopher Shane.

The Traveler

Jenna Golden. Photograph by Christopher Shane.
Jenna Golden. Photograph by Christopher Shane.

As head of political-ad sales for Twitter, Jenna Golden spends most days running around Washington, brokering deals in the lead-up to the presidential election. But her alternate persona as food writer and wine spectator for her blog, EatMore DrinkMore, brings her to farther-flung destinations such as Paris—which she hits twice a year—Italy, and California’s Napa Valley.

Between passport stamps, she gutted and expanded the galley kitchen in her Logan Circle schoolhouse turned condo. “The biggest decision was to take down the half wall and really go for it,” she says. “Since the kitchen looks directly into the living room, I wanted to encourage the feeling that it was one giant space.”

Remodelers from Fajen & Brown installed a dual-temperature wine fridge and custom room-temperature wine storage for her collection. They painted the walls to match the warm gray of the cabinets, a trick that gave the room—which already had 15-foot ceilings—the illusion of even more height.

Golden opted for a wall of drawers instead of cabinets to allow more storage for her large collection of serveware. Photo by Christopher Shane.
Golden opted for a wall of drawers instead of cabinets to allow more storage for her large collection of serveware. Photo by Christopher Shane.
The Colonial-inspired, oversize pendant above the peninsula is from Restoration Hardware. Photo by Christopher Shane.
The Colonial-inspired, oversize pendant above the peninsula is from Restoration Hardware. Photo by Christopher Shane.

Photo by Christopher Shane.

Inside the Kitchen

Favorite gadget “Cuisinart mini-prep. I use it to make sauces, dressings, and even to chop cheese.”

Entertaining tip “Always have a cheese-and-charcuterie plate ready for guests.”

The cheeky lowball glasses are from Salt & Sundry. Photo by Christopher Shane.
The cheeky lowball glasses are from Salt & Sundry. Photo by Christopher Shane.

Food aversion “I find mustard appalling.”

Prized kitchen possession “My Bertazzoni range.”

After-work drink “In the summer, a glass of dry Provence rosé. In the winter, Carignane from Ridge Vineyards.”

golden_skillet
Le Creuset Signature Skillet, $120 at lecreuset.com. Photograph of skillet courtesy of Bloomingdale’s.

I have my eye on this skillet, which I could use on the stovetop for cooking, but also in the oven for baking crumbles, cookies, and other desserts.

Jenna Golden

The Professional

Sidra Forman. Photo by Christopher Shane.
Sidra Forman. Photo by Christopher Shane.

Sidra Forman—one of the country’s best floral designers, according to none other than Martha Stewart—makes a living creating lush flower arrangements and catering private dinners for clients, often out of her home. No surprise, then, that she designed her small Shaw kitchen to be a workhorse.

A giant butcher-block island is fit for chopping vegetables to make ratatouille for a dozen (or two). Industrial-grade shelving holds stacks of prep bowls, luxe serveware, and containers of spices. The Arctic Air glass refrigerator needs to hold hors d’oeuvres for 20 along with floral centerpieces.

The utility of Forman’s space extends beyond the kitchen. The garden out back supplies much of her produce and blooms. Even the fireplace pulls its weight, doubling as storage for many of her countertop appliances when they’re not in use.

Forman says upgrading to a Viking range was "one of the best decisions I made." Photo by Christopher Shane.
Forman says upgrading to a Viking range was “one of the best decisions I made.” Photo by Christopher Shane.
The brass placard from Forman and her husband’s former Shaw restaurant, Rupperts, adorns the door leading from garden to kitchen. Photo by Christopher Shane.
The brass placard from Forman and her husband’s former Shaw restaurant, Rupperts, adorns the door leading from garden to kitchen. Photo by Christopher Shane.
Photo by Christopher Shane.
Photo by Christopher Shane.

Inside the Kitchen

Best kitchen addition “A friend redid her kitchen and gave us her Carrara-marble countertops.”

Favorite gadget “An old cleaver that I use to open young coconuts—which I eat every day.”

Food aversion “Cinnamon basil.”

To get her spices in bulk, Forman buys them from a restaurant distributor. Photo by Christopher Shane.
To get her spices in bulk, Forman buys them from a restaurant distributor. Photo by Christopher Shane.

Entertaining tip “Don’t underestimate the importance of a good playlist.”

Prized kitchen possession “An old wooden rolling pin that belonged to my grandmother.”

forman_product
Hario Skerton ceramic coffee grinder, $49.95 at Williams-Sonoma. Photograph courtesy of Williams-Sonoma.

I have been told that a hand grinder produces a smoother, less bitter cup of coffee. Also, it’s a quick, pleasant ritual, and I don’t miss the morning noise of the electric coffee grinder.

Sidra Forman

The Entertainer

Jen Olmstead. Photo by Christopher Shane.
Jen Olmstead. Photo by Christopher Shane.

A casual pizza night with friends isn’t Jen Olmstead’s speed. When she and her husband, Aaron, entertain at their house in Bluemont, Virginia, they go all out: spreads of homemade dishes for all 13 of Aaron’s siblings, holiday gatherings for their crew of old college friends, hosting Jen’s clients for overnight cooking-and-cocktail-making sessions. (She and business partner Jeffrey Shipley run Tonic Site Shop, a website-design company specializing in creative fields.) Says Jen: “I firmly believe in hospitality.”

But seeing their kitchen’s potential took serious imagination. The house was formerly owned by a circus clown (yes, really) who kept llamas on the property—and a gallery of clown posters on the living-room wall. The Olmsteads were able to look past those quirks to appreciate the home’s 11-foot ceilings and bucolic views. They ripped green laminate countertops out of the kitchen; Carrara marble replaced them. They then painted the cabinets and installed the backsplash themselves, even working through a power outage with a headlamp. As a reward for a job done well, they splurged on a massive Restoration Hardware table for the dining room—perfect for the boisterous meals they’re known for.

A row of overhead cabinets was ripped down from the island to open up the kitchen's sightlines. Photo by Christopher Shane.
A row of overhead cabinets was ripped down from the island to open up the kitchen’s sightlines. Photo by Christopher Shane.
A wooden table adds rusticity. The Capiz-shell chandelier is from West Elm, the metal chairs from Restoration Hardware. Photo by Christopher Shane.
A wooden table adds rusticity. The Capiz-shell chandelier is from West Elm, the metal chairs from Restoration Hardware. Photo by Christopher Shane.

Inside the Kitchen

Best kitchen addition “Our dark-gray lower cabinets.”

Entertaining tip “Prep as much as possible the day before, serve everything family-style, and start with a great cocktail.”

Olmstead displays her cocktail supplies on a long console table to better serve her guests. Photo by Christopher Shane.
Olmstead displays her cocktail supplies on a long console table to better serve her guests. Photo by Christopher Shane.

Favorite gadget “Our molcajete—it gets consistent use making the best guacamole ever.”

Prized kitchen possession “Carrara-marble countertops.”

Food aversion “Beets.”

olmstead_product
Ironstone pitcher, $32 at squareup.com/store/the-white-hearth. Photograph by Yetta Reid Photography.

I love the organic texture and imperfect design of the wheel-thrown White Hearth pottery pieces. The impressive part: They’re made by my talented 17-year-old sister-in-law.

Jen Olmstead

This article appears in our October 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

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Design & Style Editor

Hillary writes about interiors, real estate, arts, and culture. She is the former digital media editor of The New Republic, and her work has also been published in Glamour, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post, among others. You can follow her on Instagram @hillarylouisekelly or on Pinterest @hlkelly.