Bright, Elegant Kitchen Makes Doctor Feel at Home

Luxury designer creates a space for fast dinners, drawn-out gourmet meals

In a 1920s-era co-op in Chicago, a pediatric oncologist who loves to cook was looking for an updated kitchen that would better fit her empty-nester lifestyle. Luxury interior designer Jean Atchison, who had recently designed a kitchen for the doctor’s neighbor, knew she could create a space that fulfilled those needs—and more.

Photo: Scott Shigley

“The first thing I like to do with a new client is have what I call a ‘conversation of discovery,’” says Atchison, who founded Atchison Architectural Interiors more than 25 years ago. “For me, it’s about figuring out what my client wants, not about achieving a certain look. The fun for me is figuring out their space.”

Atchison learned that her client not only loved to cook and bake, she’s quite good at it having attended fine baking schools in New England. A priority in the new space would be creating open countertops big enough to roll out large sections of pastry, as well as incorporating luxury appliances that suited her cooking styles. A set-up encouraging casual entertaining was also key for the client, who prefers to entertain in the kitchen while she cooks, instead of in a formal dining or living space.

The vintage co-op had plenty of room to work with. The existing kitchen—which was decorated in darker burgundy and yellow—could easily be combined with an outdated dining room to create an entirely new space with plenty of comfortable guest seating, as well as a combined office and den area.

Photo: Scott Shigley

Elegant appliances that serve all her needs

When Atchison started the renovation, her client knew she wanted to consider elegant kitchen products that would make her life easier and compliment her cooking skills, as well as contribute to the finer details of the new kitchen. One of the first steps Atchison made was taking the client to Monogram’s Design Center in Chicago.

“One of the things I love about Monogram is the fabulous, knowledgeable, upbeat employees,” says Atchison. “The showroom is beautiful and well designed. It really highlights each product and shows how you can use them.”

Working with the Design Center experts, Atchison was able to identify some of the precise desires her client had for the new kitchen.

“She’s a pediatric oncologist, which means she works long hours and often comes home late,” explains Atchison. “But she also enjoys entertaining, is a gourmet cook and loves baking.”

Photo: Scott Shigley

A kitchen that allowed her to enjoy cooking with her guests nearby, but also to put a thoughtful meal on the table quickly after a long day at the hospital was key. Many Monogram pieces were perfect for just that.

No matter what she wants to prepare, Monogram’s Advantium 120 Above-the-Cooktop Speedcooking Oven offers endless options (the ability to cook foods up to four times faster than a conventional over is perfect for late nights), and compliments the multi-use 30-Inch Dual-Fuel Professional Range. Monogram’s 30-Inch Smart Flush Hearth Oven rounds out the flexible cooking options. The handcrafted electric hearth oven combines the crisping performance of a traditional wood-burning pizza oven with the precision of a luxury appliance, roasting vegetables to perfection in mere minutes.

“As a gourmet cook, she loves the Advantium technology and the hearth oven for entertaining, but she also loves that it helps her have dinner done quickly after a long day,” says Atchison.

Small details, big impact

The crisp white counters, cabinets and glass backsplash offer an elegant backdrop to each of the Monogram products—and also appealed to her client, whose loves a clean and bright space. But attention to other tiny details, like the monkeys in the Cole & Son Frutto Proibito Hyacinth and Orange Wallpaper surrounding the banquette seating area, as well as the periwinkle blue and orange touches throughout the space keep the space warm and inviting.

The elegant details found in all of Monogram’s products also contributed, and, in fact, made it easy to coordinate the one appliance her client wanted to keep. Selecting black glass for the front of her Monogram 30-Inch Integrated Glass-Door Refrigerator and placing coordinated handles in similar locations allowed for the two to stand seamlessly side-by-side on one wall of the kitchen.

Atchison made sure other small-but-unique elements appealed to the doctor’s discerning eye, like the inset knife block on a ledge tucked against one wall, keeping the knives readily available but also out-of-reach for visiting grandchildren. She also tucked the 24-Inch Custom Panel Wine Reserve into the island since the client enjoys sipping a glass of wine while she creates elaborate pastries and other dishes.

A signature design move offered additional appeal. “I often add a secret hidden compartment somewhere in the millwork,” Atchison notes. “In this case, I have a hidden door on the island where the stools are placed—an easy spot to hide something from guests.”

Does the space fit the doctor’s empty-nest lifestyle? It seems so. “She loves it. She really wanted a classic kitchen that could appeal to everyone,” says Atchison. Most importantly, it appeals to her, giving her everything she wanted (and needed) in a new kitchen.

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