Small, outdated Friendswood kitchen gets a modern makeover
When two busy physicians bought their Friendswood home in 2015, it was tailored-made for their vision — all four of their children could have their own separate bathrooms.
Although it was a win in that regard, the small kitchen wasn’t the vision of Drs. Dawnelle Schatte and Jeremy Slater.
“We bought the house despite the kitchen, knowing we’d eventually remodel,” Schatte said.
“It was the most depressing room in the entire house, and we didn’t want to spend a lot of time in there,” Slater said.
About the time the couple came up with a plan, Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, putting everything on hold.
After consulting with Randy Godeau of Bay Area Kitchens in Webster, the remodeling began in September 2018 and took roughly three months.
Crews removed the kitchen island and restructured walls and windows to provide more light. They also built a separate bar/eating area.
“The bar is unique in that each end has these really cool 11⁄2-inch-thick walnut countertops with faux live edges — crafted to look very similar to the edges of an actual tree slab,” Slater said. “I wanted this to feel like a cohesive space, so we could have this openness between the dining area and family room.”
The bright yellow metal bar stools contrast nicely with the teal sofa and colorful art above the fireplace.
All the dark cabinetry was replaced with floor-to-ceiling solid custom walnut by Wood-Mode, stained Matte Winter Sky. New flooring replicating natural wood in glazed porcelain was installed, while white base quartz countertops with black and silver veins replaced granite. The kitchen was outfitted with top-of-the-line Wolf appliances. The only exception is the Bosch dishwasher.
“The appliances play a major role in our kitchen, since we both like to cook, and I’m a serious bread baker,” said Slater, who kneaded his fair share of bread dough during medical school to relieve stress, often pounding the dough into various shapes. “I’d go to class carrying a loaf of bread that looked like a lobster.”
The couple worked closely with Godeau and told him what they envisioned. Godeau walked around, stood at every angle and pointed out important concerns.
“He told us that we shouldn’t leave the refrigerator in its current location, because all we’d see is metal from the family room once we made the structural changes, so the ovens are now where the fridge was,” Slater said. “He could see things that we didn’t see.”
Built-in double ovens — the upper one is a combination convection steam oven and the lower one a convection oven with advanced convection system with gourmet mode — are great timesavers, automatically adjusting all the details of cooking.
“As a baker, I can get that nice brown crust on bread, with no egg wash, in the steam oven,” Slater said. “Also, the gourmet mode on the convection oven allows me to cook something like prime rib with no guess work.”
A microwave oven, built into the lower bar cabinets, was specifically designed for their special-needs daughter for eye-level, easy access.
The Sub-Zero, French door, refrigerator/freezer offered a nice surprise when the couple returned from a week’s vacation and found the vegetables were still crisp and fresh.
“We had some doubts about making that big of a purchase, but now we’re sold,” Schatte said.
Schatte is fond of the six-burner rangetop with griddle because she likes to whip up a batch of her famous Swedish pancakes for Sunday morning breakfasts, she said.
A Bluetooth-driven sound system hidden behind cabinets above the refrigerator and a Lutron automated lighting system makes this a kitchen even the Jetsons would envy. The lighting system is wirelessly controlled by any of the four, six-button keypads at the various entrances of the family room from an iPhone or iPad or by verbal command through Alexa. The refrigerator and convection oven also are Wi-Fi connected.
When not cooking together, the couple likes to sit and enjoy the view out their backdoor, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise for Slater.
“Being from Pennsylvania, I had preconceived notions about coming to Texas from the north, picturing tumbleweeds, dust and cows,” he said. “Of course, it’s not like that at all here. Our property backs up to a horse farm, so in the evening, I hear four or five horses galloping up and enjoy watching them. It’s really nice.”
Jeremy’s kitchen staples: Teff flour, “Bread Sculpture, The Edible Art” cookbook and Jura coffee maker.
Dawnelle’s kitchen staples: OXO peeler and measuring cups, great-grandmother’s cookie cutters and grandmother’s Jell-O mold.
Favorite cooking aids: Demeyere stainless steel pots and pans, Miyabi Japanese knives and sous-vide slow cooker.
POPPY’S SWEDISH PANCAKES
Servings: 8 to 10
2 cups milk
½ cup melted butter (plus more to cook and serve)
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt and vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar (plus more to serve)
Optional: Lingonberries, fresh fruit to fill
MIX eggs and milk, then add melted butter. Mix in the remaining ingredients — flour, salt, vanilla, sugar.
HEAT a 10-inch skillet over medium-low burner. Melt a pat of butter, (about 1 teaspoon) in the hot skillet, and spoon one ladle full of batter into the skillet. When firm, flip and cook to desired doneness.
REMOVE from skillet and fill with desired toppings, such as butter and sugar, lingonberries, or fresh fruit, then roll up to serve.