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The Joy of Cooking

How the owners/chefs of a Nederland brewpub revamped their personal kitchen


Take a seat in one of the sleek, high-back bar stools in Cori and Tom Boogaard’s newly remodeled Nederland kitchen, and you feel as if you should be ordering a glass of red wine and a plate of brusquest.

With its deep wooden finishes, copper accents and intimate lighting, the bar has the vibe of an upscale European bistro. And its shimmering stainless-steel appliances would make any professional chef’s mouth water. But that’s no coincidence.

Seven years after the two lifelong cooks took the advice of friends and opened their own eatery—Wild Mountain Smokehouse & Brewery in Nederland—the Boogaards decided in 2012 that it was high time they treated themselves to the same welcoming ambiance and enviable culinary toys at home that they enjoyed at work.

This contemporary kitchen went from cold and cramped to warm and wonderful with a remodel that features burled-maple veneer, granite countertops, birdcage lighting, cherry cabinets, great appliances, and glass-and-slate cabinets.

“We love to cook and entertain, and we just didn’t like the layout and design and equipment we were using at home,” Cori says. “We needed something that was more a reflection of us.” But turning a cramped and isolated kitchen into an alluring entertainment hub that reflected the couple’s different cooking styles and aesthetics would take some collaboration.

Tom grew up in Washington, D.C., taught himself to cook at age 8, and developed an affinity early on for a good cut of red meat and, as he puts it, “anything soaked in butter.” Cori hailed from western New York and spent her youth helping in her grandmother’s restaurant, where she came to love home-style cooking and “simple comfort foods.”

A former art therapy major, she loved bright colors and shiny copper. A collector of European antiques, he loved dark, lustrous woods. While she enjoyed experimenting with light appetizers and desserts, he preferred crafting a rich eggs Benedict or a luxurious chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce.

That meant, appliance-wise, they needed it all. And all of it positioned so that they weren’t bumping into each other. But when it came to color palette and style, the opinionated pair needed some guidance. So they hired certified kitchen designer Cher Schuck of Superior-based CS Design Inc. “We were able to capture that earthy Old World feel that Tom loves, but make it warm, vibrant and contemporary,” Schuck says. “It’s a 21st-century kitchen.”

A backsplash of Earth & Art Hirsch Glass infuses earthy tones to the kitchen, where an industrial stove gets the cooking done with four gas-fired burners and a flattop grill. A Wolf steaming basket installed in the countertop  poaches foods to perfection, and collects the liquid for future use in soups and stews.

As a 20-year veteran of the craft brewing industry, Tom had always wanted to own his own brewery. Cori, a former buyer for Pottery Barn, had long envisioned putting her creative cooking talents to work at her own restaurant.

In 2005, they put those dreams in action and embarked on the daunting  task of building their 2,400-square-foot smokehouse from the ground up. They started by visiting other restaurants, photographing or noting design elements they liked, and combining them to make them their own. “We incorporated a bunch of design elements blatantly stolen from brewpubs around the country,” Tom jokes. “Doing the restaurant together trained us for this kitchen.”

To prepare for their kitchen remodel, the couple perused 15 model mini-kitchens at the Roth Distributing Showroom in Denver. They oohed and ahead over the high-end appliances and the latest in counter and cabinet finishes, while dining on a full-course meal prepared by top local chefs at a wine-food pairing hosted by Roth.

With their dream appliances clear in their minds, they chanced upon a Great Indoors closeout sale, where they snatched up much of what they were looking for at 60 percent off. Then they worked with Schuck and general contractor John Joseph of Phoenix Remodeling to design a layout around those appliances. To create a better transition between the kitchen, dining room and airy, bright-yellow living room, they started tearing down walls. “The goal was flow and openness,” Tom says. “We wanted to make it more conducive for people to come in and gather around the cooking areas.”

Knocking out a kitchen wall allowed Tom and Cori to better entertain their dinner guests by adding more flow to the space.

Efficiency First

Today, visitors walking in the front door of this remote mountain cabin near Nederland are naturally compelled to peek into the kitchen to see what their hosts are cooking up.

In one corner, a Wolf steamer installed directly into the countertop enables the family to get perfectly poached eggs, dumplings or asparagus. The 48-inch-wide Viking refrigerator with different cooling zones keeps vegetables crisp, and has plenty of snack room for the couple’s 6-year-old daughter, Aliyah. The massive stainless-steel stove features four gas-fired burners and a flattop grill (great for grilling flatbread for those bruschetta appetizers). In the island rests a deep copper farmhouse sink with an industrial-style faucet ideal for washing oversized pots and pans. “You wash enough dishes and you realize this is a much more efficient way to do it,” Tom says.

Efficiency was on Schuck’s mind, too, while designing the kitchen. “You have to take into account how people live in their space when you design something,” Schuck says. For example, “Cori’s olive oils were crammed together on the counters, and I knew we needed to create room in the new kitchen so she wouldn’t have to search for things.”

To accommodate frenzied holiday meals when it seems there’s never enough cooking space, the kitchen’s warming drawer and three ovens take over. The convection oven allows for swifter baking and broiling, and another oven lets the pair check the turkey’s temperature without opening the door. For holiday toasts, the Thermador wine-preservation unit assures the couple’s wine collection is kept at precisely the right temperature and humidity level.

The kitchen’s finishes, lights and colors are as artistic as the appliances are high-tech. Behind the stove a back­splash of aptly named Earth & Art Hirsch Glass, made with glass and slate tiles, casts an amber glow, while a custom burled-maple veneer softens the stove’s industrial hood. Serene sea-green walls frame cherry cabinets sporting a deep-coffee stain and complement the pine trees just outside the windows.

Reproductions of vintage circa 1900 birdcage lights from Restoration Hardware dangle above the bar. In the nearby dining nook hangs a gift from Tom to Cori: an artsy painting of a hound in a business suit, kicking back with a glass of red wine after a busy day at the office.

With a restaurant to run, a child to raise and an ambitious remodel only recently completed, the over scheduled duo looks at the painting and admits they haven’t done enough of that lately. But that day will come again, they say.

For now, their projects have taught them one thing, Tom says: “We’ve learned that if we listen to each other we often come up with something better than either of us can come up with alone.”

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