The brilliant, calming colors of the ocean with a splash of Italian elegance. That was the inspiration for the home that Chef James Briscione and his wife and business partner, Brooke Parkhurst, imagined they would build when they moved their family from cramped quarters in the city to their hometown of Pensacola, Fla.
“We started our lives together in New York City, but a tiny little New York City apartment is not what we always wanted for our lives,” says Briscione of their West Village dwelling with its tiny stovetop and oven and minimal refrigerator space. “We knew there were great opportunities here, and we wanted to come build our dream home.”
Briscione and Parkhurst make up the creative duo behind The Couple’s Kitchen, which incorporates their shared love of food, cooking and writing. The business started as a food blog and has grown to a multi-faceted mini-empire of TV shows, cookbooks, a culinary institute and in-home cooking events. When the opportunity arose to open Angelena’s Italian restaurant in Pensacola’s evolving historic downtown, the couple moved their operation – and their family – home to the Gulf Coast. Briscione serves as executive chef, and Parkhurst directs both wine selections and marketing.
The move also brought the opportunity to build the waterfront family home they had long dreamed of, incorporating what they loved about both Florida (water views) and many of their travel destinations (especially to Italian seaside towns): the natural beauty of the world’s waterways.
“Everything in this house is about the view,” explains Parkhurst of the family-oriented vibe they aimed to create for themselves and their two children. “It’s about the calming, peaceful nature of water and just soaking it up from almost every point in the house.”
When it came to designing the kitchen, the couple knew exactly what they wanted. “The core three elements of our kitchen design started with Monogram appliances, the beautiful marble from Vermont Danby quarries, and a really impressive range hood,” says Briscione.
The two worked with Francois & Co to design the eye-catching, custom hood with Italian details. For the backsplash, Parkhurst and Briscione sketched out a gentle, wavy, natural stone element that Vermont Danby cut with a single piece of marble in whites and grays. Bringing in their third core element are the Monogram Statement Collection appliances with their sleek stainless steel set off by solid brass accents. The professional range, with its super high-heat capabilities and simmer ring, is a standout.
“As a chef, to have a professional range, something exactly to the standards I would cook on at the restaurant, was so exciting for me,” says Briscione. “It really became the center of our kitchen design. Those brass pieces inspired so many other elements within our kitchen, from the hood to the hardware on the cabinets and the drawers.”
Intricate design details in place, this family-oriented, food-forward pair focused on the real raison d’etre of the kitchen: “the three most important things in life — pizza, coffee and wine.” The couple created a “life’s essentials” space that includes room-temperature wine bottle storage and a Monogram Wine Reserve cooler, a tucked-away coffee nook, and Monogram’s Hearth Oven, an oft-used appliance in the household.
“Of course, it makes the most amazing pizzas. I mean, as good as we make in our giant five-foot diameter wood-burning oven at the restaurant,” Briscione says, adding quickly that it’s so much more than a pizza oven. “We can use it like a steakhouse char broiler. We can roast whole fish in it. We can roast vegetables in it. My chef standards come out when it comes to roasting vegetables. I love vegetables to be just tender on the inside with crispy brown edges, which can often be a challenge in a standard home oven. But the hearth oven makes that so easy.”
Nods to other Monogram appliances—like the under-counter ice maker and the outdoor refrigerator filled with kids for the kids and adults on their porch — come with appreciation for how it all makes the design work for their family. Their son loves the 30” Panel-Ready Column Refrigerator, especially the self-filling water pitcher, which (bonus) has him drinking more water than ever.
“You know, we are home. We’re back in our hometown,” says Briscione. “It was something that we worked and dreamed our whole lives for. The kitchen was always being at the heart of that, and with the Monogram appliances, really that’s where the family gathers — and that’s what makes it home.”
See their design story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zObxqDyV_S8&t=5s