Photography by Dania Maxwell
Here’s a home tour that really cooks.
This month, the Naples Woman’s Club introduces its Kitchen Tour, a chance to peek into the pantries of five of the most beautiful, stylish and well-appointed culinary spaces in Port Royal. Whether you’re a domestic diva or just possess an appetite for good design, it’s likely you will find something to satisfy your cravings. In addition to the tour, the event includes a chance to sample fare from area chefs, hear live music, enjoy fresh floral arrangements and shop local gift boutiques.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Naples Historical Society, the Naples Woman’s Club and the nonprofit diaper distribution organization, Baby Basics of Collier County.
Debra McInnis, tour chairwoman, said the event was inspired by a similar one she organized for the Toledo Symphony League. As a new member of the Naples Woman’s Club, she aimed to showcase the many exceptional kitchens in the Naples area and raise money for the charitable efforts of the club, which celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2012.
“They can enjoy eating and socializing and shopping and enjoy these beautiful homes,” McInnis said of attendees. “Who doesn’t like to tour beautiful homes?”
Among the stops on the tour is the home of Drs. Brian and Janet Childs. The couple had several considerations in building their kitchen.
This is the fourth home they’ve built together. For Janet, the kitchen needed to reflect the needs of her active family. “I just wanted the size,” she said. “We have three boys. They all play sports.”
Their oldest son, Kevin, is in college at the University of Miami. Stephen, 17, is a senior at Naples High School, and 14-year-old Christopher is in the eighth grade at Community School of Naples. If there’s a sport with the word “ball” in it, these boys play it. After a game, it’s not unusual for her kitchen to welcome 15 to 20 of her sons’ friends and teammates.
“We’re very casual,” she said. “So we wanted to do away with as much of the formal as possible.” Her husband agreed. “We liked the whole great room concept,” he said, indicating the open floor plan between the kitchen and the casual living space. “In all the other homes we built, we had the formal dining room, which we never used.”
Beyond reflecting the family’s needs, Brian also wanted to consider design. He even sketched out many of the home’s areas himself before turning his ideas over to the architect and builders. The couple worked with Weber Design Group and BCB Homes to build their residence, which was completed in 2011. Among the items he was sure to sketch was a pantry. In all their previous homes, the design initially had included a pantry, only to have it disappear as the home was built. Not this time, Brian promised his wife. “She had to have a pantry,” he said.
“When you’re feeding boys, there’s never enough food,” Janet added. Also, the couple wanted to take a fresh approach to their home and kitchen’s architecture and décor, Brian said. In the past, they had built homes that adhered to a more traditional theme, but with this home, the style is decidedly clean and contemporary.
One area where this decision is evident is in the flooring. In previous homes, the couple chose stone; this time, they elected to add a dark African oak, which gives a sleeker, modern look.
Muted gray tones are used throughout the kitchen, including on the kitchen backsplash, which shimmers with a subtle gray glass mosaic tile. The couple also added a kitchen window and shelves for extra interest. There, they display pieces of blown glass and photos of their sons.
Another item of interest is an ecologically friendly fireplace. Fueled by denatured alcohol and open through to a formal sitting room on the other side of the kitchen, the fireplace adds ambience and atmosphere to the space.
At the center of the kitchen is an island, which is topped by a 6-by-10-foot marble slab. There’s seating for six at this counter, and Brian explains about 90 percent of the family’s time together is spent in the open kitchen and living room area, which also flows out to the pool area. “This is where we live,” he said. Janet also enjoys top-level appliances when she cooks, including a Subzero refrigerator/freezer and Viking range. The first year they were in the home, they entertained family and friends for Thanksgiving, and the holiday went off without a hitch.
“We had a lot of people here,” Janet said. “We had a lot of women in the kitchen, but there was a lot of room to work. There was no tension.”
IF YOU GO: Naples Woman’s Club Kitchen Tour What : Event showcases kitchens located in Port Royal homes and includes culinary offerings from prominent area chefs, as well as live musical performances and a chance to enjoy floral designs, gift boutiques, prize drawings and more.
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23. Special preview party to be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, at the Garden District.
Admission: $50 regular admission, $85 patron tickets
Information: Buy online at napleswomansclub.org.