Function Perfection

We asked two cooking professionals what worked best in their newly designed, much-used home kitchens. Here are their ideas. (Photos by Laura Moss)

Jack-of–all-trades Steve MacLean designed and built his kitchen as a wedding present for his wife—a project he started a mere five weeks before hosting the wedding at their Lafayette home—but, he admits, he’s the one who actually uses it. When not running his construction company, Restoration Builders, he’s shuttling off to the swanky restaurant in Manhattan where he’s a part-time chef. Then, in his limited free time, he’s got a private catering business, Blue Sage Catering Co. It’s in that role that he utilizes the kitchen, a contemporary space with open shelving, a massive tiered island, and a six-burner range. He also does the vast majority of the cooking for his family—his wife, Candice, and their two young children, Chase and Brielle—the job he likes most.

A few favorite things:

• “I’d have to say my favorite thing is my island,” says Steve MacLean. “It’s massive—I can stand on one side and cook, while guests are on the other side mingling. It’s also a great serving space.”

• “The flooring is 20-by-20 ceramic tile squares in deep gray. It gives the kitchen a commercial look, and hides the dirt!”

• “The six-burner Wolf range, with griddle, grill, and two ovens, is the workhorse of the kitchen.”


Design and Construction: Restoration Builders, Lafayette, 973-300-0338.

Appliances: Jem Appliance, Whippany, 973-887-5500.


“Our lives revolve around food and entertaining,” says Kathleen Hulsy. In fact, she has been cooking for others for years: As a cooking instructor at King’s Cooking Studio in Short Hills, developing recipes and teaching classes at Stonewall Kitchen in Portland, Maine, where she summers, and as a private caterer in and around Morristown, where she and her husband, Bob, built their dream house just a few years ago. The butter-yellow walls and golden cherry cabinets contrast with the black island cabinets in the warm and friendly space—a decidedly French style which pays homage to Kathleen’s years of studying cooking there. “My kitchen is my office,” says Kathleen, only half kidding. Kathleen and Bob often entertain, hosting as many as 80 in and around their cozy kitchen.

A few favorite things:

•“This is a totally easy kitchen. It’s easy to keep clean, easy to work in,” Kathleen Hulsy notes. “There’s a tremendous amount of counter space and the color of the granite means the mess doesn’t show!”

•“The layout of the kitchen—a traditional triangle workstation—allows uninterrupted space to cook and to entertain a crowd at the same time.”

•“The oversized island has become its own table. We don’t even need a separate breakfast area.”


Architect: Arturo Palumbo, Morristown, 973-538-1881.

Builder: Jay Grant, Grant Homes, Mendham. 973-543-2021.

Custom Cabinetry: George Ritter, Knight Kitchens, North Clarendon, Vermont.

Granite and Tile: BZ Tile n’ Marble, Denville, 973-989-1060.

Appliances: Karl’s Appliance, Fairfield. 973-227-1777.

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