Family that loves to cook makes good use of spacious and light-filled kitchen
It was on a trip to Murano, Italy, that the design for Kristen Carlson’s new kitchen came into focus, she said. Carlson met with a glass artist who created three blue and coral-colored pendant lights that set the tone and mood for her Evia home on the island’s West End.
“I kind of built the house around these pendants,” she said, pointing to the triplets hanging over the kitchen island. “At night, they create the most beautiful blue pattern on the ceiling. That was an added bonus, which I had not expected.”
Carlson has lived in Galveston for 27 years, and two years ago had her home in Evia built. It was designed to accommodate her as well as her parents, Annette and Don Carlson, who winter with her as they flee the cold in northern Wisconsin.
Having her mother with her half the year also was a consideration in the kitchen’s design, Kristen Carlson said. It needed to be a comfortable workspace for two people at the same time. She hired Seaside Construction to build the house she designed with the help of her daughter, Sydney. They wanted open space, lots of light and storage so the counters could remain uncluttered.
She got what she asked for, she said.
“I don’t like halls and walls,” she said. “I prefer the open concept.”
The kitchen is between the dining room and a large family room.
The large, oversized island is made of gray quartz and houses the sink and dishwasher. Three barstools make the island a perfect place for conversation with guests while Carlson works in the kitchen, she said. She selected stainless appliances: a large six-burner gas stove, a super quiet Bosch dishwasher and a convenient microwave-in-a-drawer. The kitchen was designed with a plethora of cabinets — large ones and small ones and a series of ones up high that are empty.
“I would need a ladder for those,” she said.
She also had the contractor build super-wide drawers and pull-out cabinets for spices, cookie sheets and cutting boards. And she made use of some unusable space by having a rotating and turning shelf built into the corner nook.
The white oversized subway tile for the backsplash complements the all-white cabinets. Lights and electric plugs are hidden underneath the cabinets, giving the room clean, simple lines.
Carlson also had a huge walk-in pantry designed to hold all the food and appliances needed for cooking meals, keeping all clutter away from the countertops.
Color is introduced into the room with a wide variety of art adorning the walls and created by mostly local Galveston-area artists. Carlson, who owns Right at Home, which provides in-home living, senior care and companion services, said although she isn’t an artist, she serves as treasurer for the Galveston Art League and likes to support local artists.
The kitchen is bright — it faces two walls of windows and two large decks for outdoor dining. And because the house is across the street from a lake, cool calm winds flow over the area, especially after the sun goes down.
“The porches are wonderful,” she said. “We get great breezes and they are shaded in the afternoon. We eat out here a lot.”
When it comes to cooking, Carlson tag-teams with her mother, who brings her organized recipe box with her when she visits. The two prepare meals, with Annette Carlson specializing in creative cakes — chocolate pistachio — as well as fruit bars, including rhubarb and strawberry. Annette’s signature meal is a lasagna, but she prides herself on making flaky crusts for Kristen’s favorite quiche, she said.
The only time the kitchen gets crowded is when her father decides to help, Kristen said.
“But that doesn’t happen often,” she said.
1 pie crust
½ cup half and half
1 ½ cups shredded cheese (Swiss is preferable)
1 tomato, chopped
5-6 mushrooms, chopped
¼ onion, chopped
1 small can black olive slices
1½ cups chopped fresh spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Sauté onion in olive oil. Beat eggs, add all other ingredients and place in uncooked pie crust.
Bake uncovered in oven for 50 minutes or until cooked through.
Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 pint strawberries, halved
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup quick cooking oatmeal
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
1⁄3 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix rhubarb, strawberries and white sugar. Pour into ungreased 9-inch square (or 7 ½-inch-by-11-inch pan).
Drizzle with vanilla extract.
Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl until crumbly. Sprinkle over rhubarb mix.
Bake for 40 minutes or until done.
Chocolate Pistachio Cake
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup pecans, chopped
1 box white cake mix (no pudding)
½ cup sugar
½ cup cooking oil
1 pistachio instant pudding mix
1 cup water
1⁄3 cup chocolate syrup
Mix cake ingredients except syrup. Remove 1 cup batter and add syrup to it.
Sprinkle nuts over bottom of greased and floured Bundt pan.
Add ½ of the cake batter, then chocolate chips, more batter, followed by chocolate syrup/batter mix.
Bake for 1 hour at 350 F. Cool in pan for 30 minutes before removing. Top with chocolate syrup or glaze.