A Kitchen Made for the Holidays

After decades of searching, Rick DeNunzio has crafted the ultimate kitchen for cooks and guests.

Photos courtesy of Manor House Kitchens

Spend a few minutes in Rick and Cathy DeNunzio’s kitchen, and you’ll see that they have perfected the formula for the ultimate cooking, dining and entertaining space. Rick spent years learning from relatives who worked in the restaurant business, keeping all their advice and experience in mind. And after 33 years as a builder, he has spent countless hours designing kitchen after kitchen of his own. 

“It was a learning curve,” he says, looking back. “There have been things that, after each kitchen we’ve done, I’ve thought, I wish I had this, or I wish I had that.” 

Today, at the Greensburg home Rick and Cathy have shared since 2008, the kitchen is sunny, spacious and meticulously designed—a cook’s dream and a guest’s delight. 

What details make it work so well, though?

Built for Socializing
“A big night for us is to cook dinner at home, watch a movie and drink some wine,” he says. The couple enjoys going out, but they’re happiest when they invite friends over. 

Thus, their cooking island was built to comfortably seat four, with plenty of workspace left to prepare food. 

“The bigger the island, the better,” DeNunzio advises other homeowners. “You’ll never be disappointed with too large of an island, if the space permits it.” 

Pro Equipment
The large, professional cooktop has six burners, plus a large food-warming drawer underneath. On either side of the cooktop, deep pullout drawers keep spices and cooking oils out of sight but at the ready. And flanking the warming area, deep drawers hold all of their pots and pans. 

In DeNunzio’s opinion, those pot drawers are a must-have. “You don’t have to get down on your knees and look into this dark space to find the pots you want,” he says.

Seeing Double
When cooking large meals, especially during the holidays, many homeowners wish they had a second oven or dishwasher to handle the overflow. 

DeNunzio worked that into this kitchen’s design: A double set of Wolf convection ovens are stacked together to the right of the cooktop. There are two sinks (a main one for clean-up and another for prep work, located in the island) and three dishwashers (two are Fisher and Paykel models that slide out like drawers, and the other is a Miele with the typical interior). 

And in addition to the large Sub-Zero refrigerator, a two-door fridge is built into the island. That second refrigerator is used strictly for drinks, so the main fridge is used solely for food.

Lots of Light
Sunshine floods in from the wall of windows that overlooks a wooded area. That natural light is amplified by oyster cabinets with a cognac-washed finish and cream tile, giving the entire room an open, airy feeling.

The enormous brown granite top on the island surface brings a dash of color, but veins of cream and white mirror the light style.

Beautiful Details
DeNunzio’s cabinets are built all the way to the ceiling and topped with display cases lit from inside. “It makes the cabinetry look like furniture,” says DeNunzio, “not like cabinets.”

The front of the Sub-Zero refrigerator is designed to match all of the other cabinet doors, and small appliances are kept in a specially designed cabinet—DeNunzio calls it an “appliance garage”—so they are nearby but not cluttering the counters. 

One finishing touch: The cabinet doors and drawers all are designed with “soft-close” technology. “You can’t slam them,” DeNunzio explains. “They have little pistons. When you close them, they’ll shut fast to a point, and then close quietly like a door on a Mercedes.” 

These details, of course, can be expensive. And designing and planning to integrate them into your own home may be challenging. But DeNunzio says homeowners never regret putting a huge amount of attention into perfecting their kitchens.

“The kitchen is probably the most important room in any home,” he says. “Your family and your friends gather there, and that makes it the priority.”