Tucked into the woods among the grand homes of Louisville’s Indian Hills neighborhood is a cozy little 1940s cabin built from a Sears kit. Growing up nearby, interior designer Chenault James had long admired the charming property, so when it was up for sale around the time she and her family were moving back to Louisville, she had to check it out. It was a little rough around the edges – darker and more dated than James’ style – but just perfect for the homey vision she had in mind for her family’s “forever home.”
“It just felt like an adventure. It was cute and quirky with all these gardens. It felt more fun to buy this than something else,” says James, owner of Chenault James Interiors, who shares the home with her husband, Ed, and two kids, ages 8 and 11.
After living in the cabin for six years, the family embarked started renovations and now that cozy little cabin has a bright, airy new addition with a living room, garage, butler’s pantry and – the subtle star of the show – a new kitchen. Since it is an extension of the main living area, James wanted to ensure the clutter of the kitchen’s various components was minimized to give a more serene feeling.
A kitchen that blends
“I knew I wanted the kitchen to be part of the living space because that’s how we all function now, but I didn’t want it to look like a kitchen,” she says. “I tried really hard to make it not look like a kitchen at first glance.”
They achieved that aesthetic by installing their Monogram wall ovens from the Minimalist Collection – the Smart Electric Convection Oven and the Five-in-One Wall Oven with Advantium Technology – in a large pantry behind the main kitchen. Hidden from the main living space, the butler’s pantry and adjoining utility room allow the busy family to keep the messes of everyday life out of view.
“The back of the house is working so great. We’re pretty good at keeping the kitchen area tidy but when you go through the doors, it’s like a bomb went off,” James jokes. “But that’s the point.”
In the main kitchen, James continued the “barely there” look by incorporating Monogram’s integrated column refrigerator and freezer, which come separately to allow flexibility in layout, and the sleek 36” induction cooktop from Monogram’s Minimalist Collection.
“Since I was going with this non-existent/under-the-radar kitchen, I really fell in love with that silver tone induction cooktop. It blends into the countertop and isn’t just a black blob set in the stone,” she says.
James has also fallen in love with how well the appliances work and the clever functional details that make her life easier.
“I just love how thoughtful Monogram is,” James says, calling out the touch latch on the Minimalist oven that allows her to open the door with her hip or elbow when her hands are full, and the built-in, auto-fill water pitcher in the refrigerator – a favorite with her kids and her friends.
A hometown legacy
Another point for Monogram? As a part of GE Appliances, the brand is a fixture in her hometown of Louisville. As a member of the Van Winkle bourbon family (her great grandfather is the legendary Pappy Van Winkle) and co-founder of Pappy & Co. with her triplet sister, James knows a thing or two about the heritage products, and the quality and integrity that goes into them. GE Appliances and Monogram just “feel right,” she says.
“GE Appliances is such a legacy brand. It’s been around so long, and there’s power in that,” she says. “There’s an ingrained sense of integrity and valuing quality that definitely runs in my veins as far as design, vendors, and the level of custom products that we create. It feels like we’re naturally aligned with Monogram, and we share the same values.”
With her quaint cabin (and kitchen) now the ideal spot for her family to grow and her guests to gather, James is ready to continue building on her family legacy in her hometown.
Says James: “It’s just working out perfectly.”