The kitchen had to be big, not only to host dinner parties and tastings, but also to house Johnston’s collection of more than 170 cookbooks and culinary history books and documents. Then she added a fireplace where she could curl up on cold days to read them.
The pro-style appliances suit her cooking style, which runs the gamut from cassoulet to gazpacho, but leans heavily toward traditional Southern foods. Johnston’s husband also likes to cook, so the layout had to accommodate at least two chefs. Finally, she created an area specially for baking, including an island with a low surface height for rolling dough. A cabinet between the ovens offers accessible storage for a mixer, food processor and baking supplies. “I’m a really good cook but I cannot bake,” she says. “I think one of the reasons I can’t bake is that my kitchen is not set up for baking."
With all that activity going on in her dream kitchen, Johnston went for a classic but not overly traditional or formal aesthetic. “I don’t like a lot of what I would call froufrou,” she explains. “I don’t like corbels, extraneous architectural details. I really like clean but not totally boring.”