Warm, inviting & teenager friendly

Story by Gretchen Wieman • Photography by Alaska Virtual Digital Photo

For Kathy and Evan Harding, designing their new kitchen was a family affair. As the duo behind Harding Homes of Alaska, a custom home building firm in Anchorage, they both had been through enough houses to know exactly what they wanted when it came time to build their own.

Their goals for the kitchen were simple – something warm and inviting with a functional flow that could accommodate large groups. As the parents of two active high school students, the Hardings often host entire hockey teams for spaghetti feeds, and as the summer approaches are already gearing up for a busy BBQ season. The demands of their busy social life influenced the design of the kitchen.

"My favorite part of the kitchen is the island," says Kathy. "It is huge – we don't even need a kitchen table. We eat all of our meals there, and if I'm in the kitchen cooking I can visit with family or guests, or watch television. The layout is simple, but it works."

Kaitlyn, her 15-year-old daughter chimes in, "I like EVERYTHING. It's big and fun!" Then they laugh. "Erik's favorite part is whatever is in the pantry." Fortunately the pantry is spacious enough to accommodate even the appetite of a 17-year-old boy, and the island is large enough to accommodate the hungry teenagers that often troop through the Harding's home.

Although the size of the island is an appealing feature, the granite, provided by Hard Rock Design is what really catches your eye. The black, gold, and a hint of white flow together, creating a sense of movement.

The Hardings picked the granite themselves. "We are all very hands on, especially Evan," says Kathy. "He looks at different options for materials, picks his favorite, and brings it home to see if it will work. Our kids are old enough that we ask their opinion too."

Kaitlyn helped Kathy choose the amber light fixtures above the island. "We didn't really think about one style to use," says Kathy. "We just looked for materials that would match." The light emphasizes the granite as well as the warmth of the cherry cabinets and hardwood floors, making the entire kitchen look rich yet comfortable.

"We all love our kitchen," says Kathy. "It's where we eat, talk and hang out." When you're the mother of teenagers who still come home every day for lunch in their big, beautiful kitchen, you know that your design is working just the way it should.