Rethinking the Heart of the Home

A Couple Who Loves Experimenting With Cooking Concocts Their Dream Kitchen

When Pravin and Anju Wilfred built their Hillsborough house, they selected the standard builder’s kitchen, knowing that they were going to design one of their dreams once they got settled in.

Through the years, as they cooked and baked together, they concocted a mental list — a recipe if you will — that included the elements they wanted to incorporate into the new kitchen, which they envisioned as a gathering spot for themselves and their three daughters and as an entertainment center for friends and family.

The existing kitchen, which had brown cabinetry and a small window, was dull, dark and not large enough to accommodate all the functions the family desired.

“My wife and I both do a lot of ethnic cooking with Indian spices and garnishes, and we like to experiment with baking and roasting,” Pravin says. 

Anju adds that they also wanted a place where everyone could sit down every day to share meals together.

The couple — Pravin’s in health-care technology and Anju works for a health-care insurance provider — commissioned Somerset-based Heart Kitchens to do the custom redesign, which encompassed the kitchen, the adjoining sunroom and the laundry room.

Because the Wilfreds have a lot of small appliances — everything from mixers and kettles to can openers — the Heart Kitchens team designed five “garages” that allow these items to be discretely housed behind retractable pocket doors when not in use.

“I spent more time in design, laying out the cabinets and garages than I’ve done on any other project,” says Steve Niedzielski, Heart Kitchens’ owner and lead designer. “The garages provide incredible storage.”

To make the space lighter and brighter, the custom maple cabinets that reach to the ceiling were painted white, and the room’s small window was replaced by a picture window. 

“It really opens the space,” Pravin says. “We don’t even use curtains or shades on it.”

He notes that the lighting system is automated; individual lights can be dimmed or set on timers to turn off and on.

The focal point of the kitchen is the large central island, which seats six. 

“We have every meal there,” Anju says. “We can sit and face each other, and we play family games there.”

The island is notable for another reason: Its top, a double-thick slab of quartz, weighs 2,200 pounds. “It took eleven men to install,” Niedzielski says. “It took us three hours just to get it into the house.”

The extra-large sink, complete with a wooden cutting board, does double duty as a workstation, a necessity when the Wilfreds are trying out new recipes. (Their collection of spices numbers more than 100.)

The sunroom, now outfitted with a beverage bar that has a wine cooler, a sink and a faucet that dispenses water from a basement-mounted reverse osmosis filter, functions as a lounge. “It’s where we have coffee and drinks,” Pravin says.

The Wilfreds are so happy with their new kitchen that it’s where they spend most of their time – even when they’re not cooking or dining.

“This kitchen takes my breath away every time I walk into it,” Anju says. “I love how form and function came together so exquisitely.” 

Explore designs for a new kitchen at heartkitchensnj.com

Remodeling Rules

Put function first, form will follow.

Establish a realistic budget.

Make timeless, classic choices that will always be in style.

“This kitchen takes my breath away every time I walk into it. I love how form and function came together so exquisitely.” —Anju Wilfre

Businesses Featured in this Article

Related Businesses

Related Articles