A Chef-Inspired Custom Home

When Amy Jones’ kids were grown and moved out, she was ready to start a new chapter in life, and she needed the right home for the job. When she found it, she knew right away. “When I walked into that home, I knew immediately that I was going to buy it. And so I did,” Amy remembers fondly.

KEY CONTRIBUTORS

Architect
Ivy Enterprises
Builder
Crown Pointe Homes
Kitchen
Allen & Petersen
Cooking & Appliance
Lighting
The Lighting Gallery
by Brown's
A practical design

What sold Amy was the “entertainment value” of the home with its custom kitchen and open living space. “It just has so many features that I love,” she adds. The home was designed years before Amy moved in by local chef, and a big fan of entertaining, Al Levinsohn. Al designed the home to have a large, open-concept living room, dining room and kitchen, where you could be in the living room, dining room or kitchen and still be able to take part in conversation.

To avoid having the large living room, with its open floorplan and high ceilings, cluttered with posts and beams, the walls work double-duty. “We tried to keep it as open as possible,” says Al. “They were having to do most of the construction on the walls with all double-studs, where they put two two-by-sixes together for pretty much every stud.” Al and his architect were even able to install a bridge across the living room with glass panel siding for unobstructed views of the floor beneath.

The open floorplan is also very practical, since you don’t have to go up and down stairs frequently. “The most important things in the home are on the main floor,” says Amy. This includes the laundry room, master suite, living room, the deck and, of course, the kitchen. “We do have a gym and an extra bedroom and living area upstairs, but the best part of it is definitely downstairs. When we have guests, they get the whole upstairs,” explains Amy.

The envy of all ovens

The feature that truly sets the home apart from all others, though, is its wood-burning oven. Instead of having a walk-in pantry in the kitchen, as originally planned, Chef Al scrapped the idea and instead put in a massive wood-burning oven. “We love it – we cook pizzas in there when we have family over; we cook our Thanksgiving dinner in that wood-burning oven. It’s just fabulous,” says Amy. Plus, she notes, “It warms the whole house – that’s just a side benefit.”

One night, when at a local restaurant, Amy met a chef cooking with a wood-burning oven. Ten days later, Amy held a large house party, and the chef agreed to make all of the food for the crowd. That night, Amy and her guests truly learned the magic of the oven and all you could cook in it: “We had about 25 people there, and they couldn’t believe it,” says Amy. “To have that wood-burning fire and to be able to prepare different types of meals, it was wonderful.”

The wood-burning oven is truly the star attraction, and the home was literally built around it. After building the subfloor for the home, the oven was delivered on a flatbed. From there, it had to be lowered in to the house by a boom crane. “Because on the construction site, you can’t just drive a forklift in the mud,” Al explains, “so they had a boom truck, like a big crane, and they swung (the oven) up over the trees, brought it down and set it in place on the subfloor.” After the oven was in place, it was bolted to the ground, where it has been ever since.

Living in luxury

Alongside the wood-burning oven are all professional-grade Viking brand appliances. The kitchen countertops are all granite, which makes them durable against heat and scratch-resistant. Above the countertops and appliances in the kitchen, as well as in the living room, is tech lighting suspended from the 18-foot ceilings on monorails. Underneath it all is 2,000 square feet of “three-quarter-inch tongue-and-groove Brazilian cherry floors,” says Al. The warm, striped wood pairs with the terracotta walls and other wooden finishes throughout the main floor.

The floor also has built-in radiant heating in the master suite and bathroom, which has a walk-in shower and an enclosed steam room. “We have heated floors in the areas of the house where you want them to be heated,” says Amy. “When you get up in the morning, and you walk into that bathroom, it’s just like heaven.”

The view on the deck outside is also heavenly. “You can’t see a neighbor because of the Kincaid backdrop that we have. And so we sit out on the deck and drink wine – it’s a great space,” says Amy. “(The house) is so easy to live in. It’s just luxury from top to bottom.”