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The Hostess with the Mostest

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As the owner and principal designer of Bluebell Kitchens for the past 30 years, Peter Cardamone has encountered quite a bit when it comes to high-end design. So when he describes a recently completed kitchen in a new Malvern home as a “once in a career” project, you know it’s certain to be a showstopper.

And so is the 14,000-square-foot Mountain Vernacular-style home, nestled in a wooded Tredyffrin Township lot that backs up to the historic Horseshoe Trail. Though it’s rare for a kitchen to drive an entire design, this was unlike anything Cardamone, architect Rene Hoffman and builders Steve Minton and Peter Jonak had ever tackled. 

“I’m currently designing a timber-frame home just like this in Jackson Hole, Wyo.,” says Hoffman. “You don’t see many houses like this on the Main Line, and that’s what made it so fun to design.”

A three-sided fieldstone fireplace is the focal point in the great room//All photos by Ronnie Bruce Photography.

Favorable flow

The homeowners are a power couple. She’s a doctor with a local health system; he’s the CEO of a publicly traded company. Cooking is his passion, so the kitchen had to look impressive, be functional, and anchor a vast open space that could  accommodate large groups. 

“The owner wanted the kitchen to be a  stage,” says Cardamone. “His cooking is extremely interactive, so he wanted a large island where he could fit about a dozen people comfortably.” 

Also on their wish list: a commercial pizza oven of the same grade as those used by California Pizza Kitchen. That’s a guy who is serious about pizza. 

The master-bathroom shower features multiple sprays, an open design and a large piece of Quartzite.

Hoffman and Cardamone made 3-D renderings of the interior. “It was important going in to know how each space would relate to each other in terms of function and flow,” says Cardamone. 

Indigenous fieldstone defines various areas of the first floor. In the expansive entry, a two-story stone wall shields the view of the main living space. A curved hanging staircase leads to a catwalk supported by two massive beams. High-sheen, black-slate tiles line the floors. 

The ceiling, which spans more than 40 feet over the kitchen area, proved to be challenging. Timbers with steel bands help to bring down the scale of the space. “It’s so massive,” says Cardamone. “It was like trying to design a kitchen within a cathedral.”

The impressive pizza oven is set into the core wall. It’s flanked by a refrigerator and freezer that’s paneled with rosewood and Macassar ebony. To create some continuity, cabinetry in the same rich woods was used on the base of the island, an adjacent coffee bar, an entire wall in the dining room, and the bar. 

Lighting was integrated into every cabinet and drawer. The two-level island—topped with leathered black granite—contains a 60-inch commercial stove with a sculptural hood custom-made by a metal artisan in Colorado. An entire room off the kitchen is devoted to prep and cleanup. “This was a first for us,” says Hoffman.“We’ve never designed a house with a full-scale catering kitchen.” 

Custom cabinets create flow between the open kitchen and dining room.  

Now, that’s entertaining

The dining room boasts a linear fireplace on a wall that’s shared with a four-seasons room that brings the outside in. The unique space is surrounded in retractable, sliding doors and has floors warmed by radiant heat. 

A three-sided, two-story fireplace made of fieldstone looms between the kitchen and the great room. One side faces a cozy bar nook, where an 850-gallon saltwater fish tank is set inside custom cabinetry. Two steps lead down to the great room, an immense space that accommodates two sitting areas. 

A curved hanging staircase, high-sheen black tile and a fieldstone wall make quite the first impression in the entry

A large steel plate is set into the fieldstone of the fireplace, making for a compelling focal point. “It helps to break up the expanse of stone,” says Hoffman. “It will oxidize over time, taking on a life of its own, color wise.” 

Outside, the pool house includes an outdoor kitchen. There’s also plenty of seating, a pair of fire pits, a large freeform pool, and a separate Jacuzzi. 

“It took two years to design and build this project,” says Jonak. “Everything about it—from its size to the materials used—was unique. It’s a project that certainly doesn’t come along often.”

Resources 

Architect: R.A. Hoffman Architects, 55 Plank Ave., Paoli, (610) 889-0660. 

Builder: Spire Builders, 28 S. Waterloo Road, Suite 101, Devon, (267) 528-0832. 

Custom cabinetry: Premier Custom-Built Cabinetry, 110 Short St., New Holland, (717) 354-3059. 

Kitchen design: Bluebell Kitchens, 1104 Bethlehem Pike, Spring House, (215) 646-5442.

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