West End island kitchen made for cooking and entertaining
Strong bold lines, rugged stone, intricately carved wood, colored glass and elegantly worked metals define the culinary and dining areas of Brenda Norwood’s modern home in Pirates Cove.
“The kitchen is said to be the heart of a home, and I love both this home and this kitchen — it’s the best I’ve ever had,” Norwood said.
With several food preparation centers, generous and easily accessible storage and professional grade appliances, the kitchen lends itself to a traffic pattern that moves easily around a centrally positioned work island. Sand-toned stone flooring provides a base for the soothing and sophisticated color palette of gray, cream and seaworthy blue-greens, accented by a variety of metals, plus touches of terra cotta in the exposed brick behind the stove.
Norwood’s impressive array of stainless steel appliances were manufactured by Viking. There’s a subtle Viking theme at play throughout the kitchen and dining area.
Decorative wood accents — all custom-milled onsite during construction — include bead board and carved wooden columns that resemble twisted nautical rope. Upper cabinets feature graceful curved corbels reminiscent of the upturned prow of a Viking ship. Antique style metal light fixtures are festooned with droplets of amber-toned glass, and a pair of oars leans against the nearby fireplace mantle.
Norwood takes delight in the serendipitous link between her kitchen and her home’s location in Pirates Cove.
“This area was occupied by our very own Jean Laffite, and Vikings were the original pirates,” she said. “In fact, in the old Norse language, setting off on a pirate raid was sometimes referred to as ‘going Viking.’”
Norwood’s kitchen features an 18-foot uninterrupted run of polished granite. Sturdy cabinets underneath are equipped with rollaway drawers, sized for easy access to everything from flatware and small kitchen tools to the most bulky pots and pans.
“Although it’s not an especially large kitchen, the way everything is arranged is awesome,” said Norwood, who, as a Realtor, has occasion to see a lot of kitchens. “It just flows — whether I’m cooking or serving, it seems that everything is just where it needs to be. ”
The space is especially adaptive to Norwood’s fondness for entertaining. She and her husband, Jeff, enjoy getting together with neighbors on a regular basis, and their three grown sons will sometimes still call from out-of-town and invite themselves and a few friends to dinner.
“It will start off with one or two extra people, and before I know it, the party has grown to 10 or 12,” Norwood said. “But I love cooking, and I love cooking for others, especially my family.”
Among her most ambitious events was a wedding reception for 50 she held in honor of her oldest son and new daughter-in-law. Other more casual get-togethers with friends may involve an impromptu dinner featuring grilled seafood, followed by a moonlight cruise on the canal that runs in back of the property.
It is almost certain that the active Viking lifestyle would have required enjoying a hearty breakfast. This simple-to-prepare casserole was created by Norwood to provide a delicious start to a modern day. She has found it especially good for large, overnight groups — just prepare two casseroles instead of one, if you’re feeding a crowd.
“It is quick and easy, and everyone loves it,” she said.
Brenda Norwood’s Breakfast Casserole
1 (16-ounce) package bulk-style pork sausage, regular
1 (16-ounce) package bulk-style pork sausage, hot
1 (30-ounce) package frozen hash browns
1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
6 to 8 large eggs
2 cups milk
1½ teaspoons of salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Crumble and cook sausage in frying pan, then drain. Cook hash browns according to package directions.
Mix sausage and hash browns with 1 cup of shredded cheese, then distribute mixture evenly in 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper and pour over meat, potato and cheese mixture.
Top with remaining ½ cup cheese, and bake in preheated 350 F oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool slightly, then serve with fresh fruit, berries and hot toast or English muffins.