The kitchen in this waterfront Kemah home was made for entertaining
When Jeanette and Paul Faulkner began designing the Kemah waterfront home they moved into four years ago, they knew exactly what they wanted — an exceptionally large kitchen.
“We love to entertain, so a big kitchen was a must because that’s where everyone congregates,” Jeanette said. “We envisioned open areas in every direction so that everyone could see the water. Everything flows from the kitchen to the family room, dining room, loggia area and out to the pool, so it’s a continuous entertainment space.”
Although the Mediterranean-style kitchen is magnificently gorgeous, functionality was important, too.
“That’s why there are two islands — one to accommodate guests, which is higher and curved so friends can see each other while conversing, and another that serves as a working island,” she said.
The 12-by-6 foot conversation island and the 9.5-by-4.5-foot working island are covered with Mascarello granite from Brazil — an exotic mix of vibrant golds, browns, cream and black with flecks of silver.
A dark-chestnut, built-in China cabinet across from the working island features Taj Mahal quartzite — soft white with subtle gold veins. On the opposite wall are custom-made, floor-to-ceiling birch cabinets with raised panel doors, painted a pale ecru shade.
All appliances are by Thermador, including two dishwashers — a must for after-party cleanups.
Jeanette is especially fond of her stove and two-tone range hood with scroll motif design, she said.
“It’s my favorite thing in the kitchen,” she said. “I must give credit to my friend, Patty Hoffman, who was instrumental in helping me with this elegant range hood, which has a custom-tinted rich brown glaze and metallic wax that accentuates the texture and carved details.”
The pot filler above the stove, the backsplash tiles depicting various herbs and the touch-command sink faucet are other favorite kitchen features, she said.
The kitchen flows effortlessly to the loggia, where a roomy outdoor kitchen, dining table and bistro table, settee with matching side chairs fit snuggly in front of a fireplace — all surrounded by arched openings that lead to the pool and waterfront patio area. When the temperatures get chilly in the winter months, the Faulkners can lower outdoor shutters remotely.
Back inside, the kitchen meanders into the living room, wet bar, dining room and wine grotto — all open spaces — where dozens of guests congregate when the Faulkners entertain. They’ve had as many as 80 to 100 guests at one time, Jeanette said.
“Our house is party central,” she said. “We have parties for every holiday occasion, even hump day, plus birthdays. I also keep a lot of things on hand for impromptu gatherings, like wine, cheese and frozen spanakopita. I am always prepared. I’m a party waiting to happen.”
On more formal occasions, the Faulkners entertain in their dining room seated around their Marge Carson dining table under an exquisite one-of-a-kind French-inspired chandelier.
“My Italian mom and grandmother were very good cooks and I do cook Italian,” Jeanette said.
Every Christmas, she goes to her cousin’s house in Santa Fe, Texas, where several family members get together and make ravioli and spaghetti from scratch, she said.
“It takes the entire day,” she said.
Jeanette, a retired teacher, who grew up in Galveston, and Paul, a CPA who was raised in Detroit, share their love of food and entertaining. Although it took Paul a while to acquire a taste for seafood, he’s a big fan now, he said.
“I grew up with meat, potatoes and perogies, but now I’m really into gumbo, red beans and rice, and, of course, appetizers since we entertain so much,” Paul said.
“My main focus since we entertain a lot is party food — dips, chips, queso and the like,” Jeanette said. “One of my staple dishes is a Pineapple Cheese Ball, taken from a faculty cookbook. It’s super easy to make and it’s always a winner.”
Dinnerware: French Perle by Lenox and Riedel stemware
Cookware: Circulon pots and pans
Cutlery: Cutco knives
Favorite cookbook: “Spring OaksFaculty Club Favorites” (1979 edition)
Special collectibles and gadgets:
Jeanette: Eva Gordon ceramics
Paul: Inlaid ivory and wood wine opener
Favorite spices: Maceo Spice & Import Co. dried basil, TexJoy steak seasoning, Kirkland crushed red pepper
Pineapple Cheese Ball
2 (8-ounce) cream cheese packages
1 can (15-ounce) crushed pineapple, drained well
½ half to whole chopped bell pepper, depending on size
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped
½-1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
8 ounces (or more to taste) grated sharp cheddar cheese
Combine all but the cheese and roll into a ball. Next, roll the ball in the grated cheese. Serve at room temperature with crackers or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.