“Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above. Don’t fence me in.”
–lyrics by Robert Fletcher and Cole Porter
While there is plenty of room for them, there are no bar stools anywhere near the handsome 9 by 4-foot island in Kim Borcherding’s newly remodeled kitchen. And there’s a definite reason for that. Kim likes to cook and entertain crowds on a seriously regular basis and she would prefer her guests not cluster near the island and fence her in while she is cooking.
“I like to disperse the crowd so I can really function,” she says.
The fact that Kim and her husband, Douglas Gaker, like their space, is evident as soon as you drive up to their 1,800-foot long driveway to their nearly 200-year-old farmhouse. Sitting on 200 acres, their home affords plenty of breathing room. Scattered nearby are a pond, tennis court, two barns, an oversized garage, a guest home, and plenty of gardens.
Yours, mine and ours
When the couple married six years ago, Douglas who is a urologist for the Kettering Health Network, already owned the home. Kim was owner of Borcherding Buick GMC and the two shared a love of vintage cars—and seven mostly grown children between them. The newlyweds quickly got busy blending their families.
As with most families, much of the bonding was taking place in the heart of the home. While the original kitchen was large and had high-quality walnut cabinetry, the renovation was 30 years old, the space was dark and the arrangement wasn’t very work-friendly for Kim. She used the space as command central for six years, until it slowly became apparent the room was due for an upgrade.
“The appliances began going out one by one,” Kim says. “We decided it was time.”
Once the decision to remodel was made, the couple did not hesitate to call Carrie and John Bordenkircher, owners of Kircher Design and Build. The two had previously renovated the home’s upstairs bath, and Kim and Douglas knew they were the right team for this job.
During the initial planning stage, Kim was focused on creating a farmhouse kitchen. As John and Carrie introduced farmhouse-style elements Kim began to realize that wasn’t what she really wanted. “I am more of a dressy person and I needed to stay authentic to myself,” she says.
The existing design was an ornate, Tuscan style which didn’t go with the Federal style of the home. The challenge, Carrie says, was taking an already handsome space and transforming it into something that would give the homeowners that “wow” factor.
Bells and whistles
Another challenge: the sheer number of appliances Kim wanted in her new kitchen—including a LaCornue range, two Miele wall ovens—one steam and one combination, a standalone freezer and refrigerator, a dishwasher, two beverage drawers, an ice maker, a flash freezer, and a dehydrator.
“There is no toy I didn’t get,” Kim says with a smile. “These appliances can make you a master chef even if you aren’t one.”
While the Kircher team kept the footprint of the main kitchen the same, they were able to gather a good deal of additional space by relocating an adjacent laundry room to the upstairs owners’ suite. This new butler’s pantry serves as a food prep area with plenty of counter and cabinet space.
Island of dreams
When it came time to design the focal point of the kitchen, Kim found a photo online of an island she liked.
“I gave it to them to show the look and feel I was after, Kim says. “Boy did they take it and run!”
“That island is an artistic piece,” Carrie says. “The photo Kim gave us only showed a partial end view. It took John a lot of time to create.”
Once his design was complete, John turned plans over to the craftsmen at Peters Cabinetry who custom built it based his drawing. The final product resembles a heirloom-quality piece of furniture that introduces form as well as a good deal of function to the kitchen.
“Have I shown you these drawers?” Kim says. “The storage in this is unbelievable. Remarkable.”
Just a step away from the island, the 48-inch La Cornue range holds court, with a hammered copper range hood mounted above it between a set of windows. The dual fuel ovens are two of the four ovens found throughout the space.
“With such a large family, at any given time I’ve got four ovens and the cooktop going,” says Kim, who admits her favorite appliance just may be her Miele steam oven.
“The way the heat cooks the food–superior results,” she says. “Doug stocked the lake with trout. He went fishing a few weeks ago, caught one, cleaned it and stuck it in the steam oven. We had fresh trout for dinner that night.”
Another appliance that gets a lot of accolades is the blast chiller, nicknamed “Freddy” by its manufacturer.
“We have a garden,” Kim says. “The idea is to bring fresh foods in, do the prep, flash freeze them, and store them in our main freezer. When we are ready to use them, they are just as fresh as the day we bought them.”
Room to roam
Just as in the space around her island, Kim doesn’t want any bottlenecks in the traffic flow while entertaining. The kitchen flows easily through a wide-open archway in to a family room and on to a four-season patio room—all with a calming view of the pond.
That archway had to be rebuilt by the Kircher team. “Old houses are tough,” Carrie says. “Things are out of square.” They also had to shore up and replace the kitchen and hearth room floors being careful not to damage their radiant heat system.
The renovation also necessitated a rewiring of the entire space. The team at Hanson Audio Video took on that task and installed a state–of–the–art security system along with the latest and greatest television and sound components.
The hearth room got a bit of a facelift as well, with a new Obsidian tile surround on the fireplace, which picks up the backsplash tile in the kitchen. The mantel is hand made by John from a piece of walnut wood that came from a farm in Lebanon. Walls are painted a rich navy blue suggested by the Kircher team. Kim was hesitant to go forward with the strong color at first, but now admits, “I’ve become a blue nut!”
Despite all of this updating to 21st century amenities, Kim and Douglas are incredibly respectful of the home’s history. A framed newspaper clipping in their front parlor tells the history of the home and a bit about its original owner, Samuel Jeffrey. Plus, Douglas has written a piece titled “Beauty” about the property and what it means to be part of its history. The first line begins “The beauty is not in the bricks. It is in the story that only they could know.”
The takeaway from all of their efforts, Kim says, “Is the privilege it is to be a part of the history and legacy of this place.” After all, she says, “Kitchens will come and go but the stories that are created in the kitchen will last a lifetime.”
Design and construction: Kircher Design & Build, Lead Carpenter Mike Maddox, CLC
Cabinetry: Peters Custom Cabinetry
Countertops: LG Viatera and Caesarstone, fabricated by KBR Manufacturing
Lighting: Kichler from Lyons Lighting
Appliances: Miele ovens, refrigerator and freezer, LaCornue range, Hoshizaki ice maker, Trinox blast chiller and dehydrator
Sink: The Galley
Cabinet pulls: Hardware Resources
Backsplash and fireplace tile, Hamilton Parker
Hearth room chairs, rug, dining table: Hoffman & Albers Interiors
Walls: Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik and Keystone
Landscaping: Jerry Majors
Windows: Marvin Windows and Doors
Photos by Daniel Feldkamp